CaRT wants more volunteer lockies

Published: Monday, 12 February 2018

WE HAVE learnt that over half of the volunteer lock keepers taken on by Canal & River Trust have now left with the Trust being in need of more volunteers to man the locks previously manned by paid lockies.

Local publications are being used to publicise the shortage, with such as the Halesowen News used to promote the need for volunteers for the Tardebigge Flight on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, Alan Tilbury reports.

Expected to undertake maintenance

One of the problems for the shortage is that the volunteers discovered that not only were they expected to work the locks for passing boats but undertake maintenance jobs with regular staff.

The Trust now state that the role includes  'helping passing boaters, welcoming visitors and giving a hand to the trust’s teams in maintaining the stretch on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal'.

Golden age

In attempting to get more volunteers, Caroline Kendall, Canal and River Trust Volunteer Development Co-ordinator, tells that the canals are enjoying a new golden age, with more and more people boating and using the water and towpath...

It is well known that toilet facilities have to be on hand for volunteers, with Caroline stating it is 'over two miles' but why not state the fact that from the bottom lock to Tardebigge Top Lock is exactly three miles, with toilet facilities at the top.  Whether this is the usual cock-up of not knowing or an attempt to lessen the knowledge of the distance is not known, but on recent occurrences it is most likely the former.

Prefer to be without

It is expected that new boaters and hirers may appreciate help from volunteers, but we share the opinion of most experienced boaters and prefer to do the locks on our own, as like many others we have our own way, honed over the years, that volunteers, especially those with absolutely no boating experience whatsover, cannot seem to grasp.

Being asked to pass up a rope to secure the boat in the narrow Juction Lock at Fradley well showed.