Shortage of volunteer lock keepers

Published: Wednesday, 06 March 2019

THOUGH Canal & River Trust boasts of its many volunteers, it seems it cannot keep them.

volunteerAs a new season starts, out goes the call for volunteer lock keepers, and though it tells that 'last year over 1,000 people volunteered to be lock keepers', it is desperate for new ones.

Very few and far between

We discovered that though the volunteers were in abundance during our May cruise, by September they were very few and far between, as Victor reported, with just two on the locks in Fradley and none at all at Stenson, though here it was drizzling.

From speaking to the volunteers we learn that all too often many are left to work locks on their own as some don't turn up and others when they do have 'an appointment' at somewhere or other and so have to leave, a single volunteer often left to work a number of locks alone.

tuel tunnelTuel Hill

At the moment the trust is asking for volunteers at particular locks, such as Tuel Hill on the Rochdale, that is somewhat awkward for boaters, it being approached through a tunnel that was constructed to take a road in place of a former lock.

The main problem with volunteer lock keepers is that after all they are volunteers, and so unpaid and should they not feel like turning out...