Appeal for volunteers to help maintain Ripon canal

A barge moored up on Ripon Canal. Picture: Tony Johnson.
A barge moored up on Ripon Canal. Picture: Tony Johnson.

The historical importance of Ripon canal has been emphasised to city residents by the Canal and River Trust, in a fresh appeal to recruit volunteers for the waterway.

A small team of volunteers work hard to maintain the canal each week, but the Trust is aware of the need to increase numbers and continue to promote the value of preserving it as widely as possible.

Kevin Young, Operations Supervisor at the Canal & River Trust, who looks after the stretch of waterway, said: “We would love to hear from anyone who could help our charity to look after Ripon canal and preserve this historic waterway, especially if you have an interest in the canal or live nearby.

“We’re looking for people with a friendly manner, a can-do attitude and willingness to learn. We provide a full induction, any necessary equipment and the chance to learn new skills and be part of our team.

“This role will be helping to make a difference to a visitor’s appreciation of the waterways.”

Coun Richard Willis, founder of the Ripon Canal Society in 1982, who now runs the Ripon Canal Carrying Company offering canal tours, said: “I would love to see more volunteers helping out on the canal, it is an important community facility. And that’s what it’s there for, to be used by the community.

“It is an important historical part of Ripon going back to 1773, and it was one of the first canals to be built in the country. It's a visitor attraction."

The latest work to be carried out on the canal includes repairs to the lock gates at Bellfurrows Lock completed in February, and the dredging of the canal basin and bridge areas in April.

The charity is looking for people who are free to help for one day or more a week, from Monday to Thursday, to help with a range of outdoor, environmental and maintenance tasks, which include helping a boat through the lock, talking to customers, and doing litter picking or vegetation works.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the Canal & River Trust via their website: wwww.canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer/opportunities