Cumbria Times
Weekend Edition
4:49 PM 11th March 2021

Volunteers Encouraged To Swap Lockdown For ‘Locking Down’ As Canal Charity Prepares For Bumper Summer Of Boating

Waterways and wellbeing charity, the Canal & River Trust, has launched a campaign to recruit more volunteers to take on the iconic role of lock keeper as it prepares for a busy year on Yorkshire’s waterways.

With coronavirus restrictions scheduled to ease over the coming months, and more people expected to be taking boating holidays in this country, the charity is appealing for volunteers to help keep the canals running smoothly.

Lock keepers have been part of waterway life for hundreds of years and today volunteers provide an invaluable service in helping boaters through locks, welcoming visitors on the towpath and also lending a hand to the Canal & River Trust staff who look after the canal. With many people discovering their local towpath as a local place to escape and relax, the volunteers also play an important role in welcoming people and giving local information about the area.

The Trust is specifically looking to recruit volunteer lock keepers at:
Apperley Bridge, Bingley and Gargrave on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Tinsley on the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal
West Stockwith on the Chesterfield Canal

Volunteer lock keepers give time on a shift basis between April-October, while many stay on over the winter months to help the Trust with other work. The roles are covid secure and full training will be provided. People of all ages (over 18) and experiences are encouraged to apply.

Sean McGinley, director Yorkshire & North East for Canal & River Trust, said:
“It promises to be a busy year on Yorkshire’s waterways with boaters starting to head out onto the water as restrictions allow and people taking the opportunity to book boating holidays. Our volunteer lock keepers will play a key role in keeping things running smoothly and helping visitors and boaters with their local knowledge.

“It’s the perfect post-lockdown role as in most cases you’ll be socially distanced as part of a small team, but with the opportunity to chat with people face-to-face in the great outdoors.

“You don’t necessarily need experience of boating or working on the waterways, the most important things we’re looking for are enthusiasm, willingness to learn and a friendly manner. It’s a great opportunity to keep the tradition of lock keeping alive while looking after your health and mental wellbeing.”

The Trust is also looking for volunteers to help with maintenance and cutting back vegetation, and volunteer rangers around Leeds and Ripon. Rangers’ duties include providing assistance to boaters through locks, supporting the safe operation of the canal, completing small maintenance tasks, promoting wellbeing and being a friendly face of the Trust.

To apply for a volunteer lock keeper role, or to find out more, visit: