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Monday, 15 June 2015 (3066992)
Canal clean up star calls for reinforcements
by Tom Martin

A NETHERTON volunteer is leading the way in helping clean up the Leeds & Liverpool Canal after figures show the number of people giving up their time is on the rise.

Amy Irwin became the Canal & River Trust's youngest ‘canal adopter' last year when at the age of 18 she made the pledge of looking after a stretch of the water.

The adoption scheme was an idea by the national charity to give locals a greater responsibility when it comes to keeping their rivers and canals tidy – which is something Amy has enjoyed taking part in ever since.

Recent figures released by the Canal & River Trust show that it's not only Amy who has volunteered her time, with the numbers rising by nearly 14% over the last 12 months in the North West.

In total, there are 33 sections of canal in the region which has been formally ‘adopted' by either individuals, community groups or businesses.

Amy said: “I live opposite the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and love the view from my bedroom window but many young people don’t even know there’s a canal really close to them.

”This project will be great as it will get young people involved in their local community while getting them active both physically, by getting into a canoe and onto the water exercising, but also learning new skills like design, planning, management and promotion of the trail.“

Volunteers take on a huge range of tasks that are integral to the upkeep of the canal system, including helping to keep towpaths clean and cutting back the vegetation that grows along the canal and river banks.

The Canal & River Trust is entrusted with the care of the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers.

Canal & River Trust waterway manager Chantelle Seaborn said: ”We are very grateful to everyone who volunteers with the Canal & River Trust. They make the waterways a nicer place to visit, including providing a welcome friendly face for everyone using our wonderful waterways.

“Volunteers help with a wide range of tasks, from painting fences and clearing rubbish, assisting boaters through locks to collecting data that helps us look after many much loved and endangered wildlife.

”There are all sorts of opportunities to get involved, including some office-based roles. I know volunteers enjoy the social side of the role and the chance to get outdoors and meet people. It’s a lovely way to spend your spare time.

“Many years ago volunteers saved much of the canal network from closure and have underpinned its survival in recent decades by continuing to support them.  In recent years there has been an explosion of new people coming to volunteer on the waterways and this is a fantastic springboard to securing the canals’ future.”


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