Lack of volunteers cut lock flight operations

Published: Friday, 19 June 2020

AS EXPECTED all the volunteers have been laid-off during the coronavirus pandemic, and we learn that at present there is no decision if or when they will be reintroduced.

The official line from Canal & River Trust is: During these unprecedented times our priority remains to support the national effort to keep people safe and help fight the coronavirus pandemic, and strictly follow government advice. In light of this, most of our volunteering opportunities are postponed or cancelled.

VolunteerLockMake themselves aware

This of course means that boaters will only have assistance at flights were the Trust's staff are present, which has resulted in timed operations with the flights chained-up out of these times, so it is essential that boaters make themselves aware of the opening hours should they be considering using flights.

This is of course as lock keepers have been made redundant, the Trust relying solely on volunteers to operate the flight and some individual locks, and none are now available.

Future uncertain

The future of volunteering at the moment is uncertain in view of the virus, as the Trust cannot be seen to be employing volunteers who could possibly spread the virus to its customers and consequently the volunteers themselves putting themselves at risk from boaters or towpath visitors.

It is stated that the Trust has 4,488 volunteers but not how many of them have been cancelled.