28 May 2021

This has been a year like no other when we’ve all had to adapt in ways we had not planned, and our ever-resilient volunteers are no exception. From socially distanced clean-ups to digital champions, our volunteers have risen to the year’s challenges.

Adapting activities 

It takes more than a global pandemic to squash the resolve of volunteers to look after the waterways. Volunteers have, within the framework of changing guidance, continued to meet to clean up and restore canals. Adapting existing activities to new rules, volunteers have continued to carry out local restoration work, clear vegetation, remove rubbish and care for the waterways. As more people than ever have discovered the joys of their local waterway, their dedicated effort is most certainly appreciated.  

Embracing digital 

Our network of local branches has, along with the rest of the organisation, moved to meeting online instead of in-person. Particularly for those that would not necessarily call themselves technically savvy, this has sometimes been a triumph of determination and patience. Likewise, numerous talks across the country have been live-streamed, with knowledgeable volunteers sharing their waterways’ expertise and passions. We even had a digital IWA Canalway Cavalcade this year – with our enthusiastic volunteers celebrating waterways’ culture and life virtually. 

Moving into new roles 

With the shift to online that we’ve all found ourselves making, volunteers have stepped into the breach. Our fantastic group of meeting and webinar champions have offered technical support and advice to local and national online events.  

Business as usual 

For some of our volunteers, their work has continued throughout this past year. Our Volunteer Consultant Engineers have continued to offer support and advice to restoration groups. Our expert Planning volunteers have kept local developments that might impact the waterways in check, including the ongoing work to mitigate the impact of HS2.

A well-earned break 

We completely understand that some volunteers have not been able to be involved this year in the way they normally would. As we all look to normality returning, we would love to hear from anyone who wants to get back involved in the same – or new – ways.

“I volunteer because…”

Do you volunteer with us? If so, thank you. There is no way we could do what we do without you. Also, we would love for you to share our ‘I volunteer because…’ image on any social media accounts you have, along with a reason you volunteer and tag us, to celebrate Volunteers’ Week (1st – 7th June).  

It means we can thank you publicly for all your (sometimes unseen) hard graft. Not only that, by sharing it with your friends and family, it might even encourage others to get involved too! However you volunteer with us, whether you do so every week or once a year, thank you.  

Download our ‘I volunteer because…’ graphics to share. 

Or, if you are interested in getting involved, you can find out more about volunteering with us.