August 2014 Volunteer Work Parties

Created on 18/09/2014

Photo: New bridge over the by-wash and weir at Pipps Ford (photo by River Gipping Trust)

August was a little quieter following the flurry of volunteers hard at work in June and July combatting the spread of Himalayan Balsam. That is not to say IWA volunteers were not out on the ground working hard, they just took some time to enjoy the nice weather and a well-earned rest as well! Even with many away on holiday some great progress has been made in the last month. To name but a few, IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch volunteers contributed to Congleton’s entry for Britain in Bloom, IWA Ipswich Branch helped River Gipping Trust to install a new bridge over Pipps Ford, and IWA West Country Branch embarked on a big project painting all the metalwork around Bridgwater Docks. Read on to see what else has been achieved…

Work Party Makes Final Preparations for Britain in Bloom Judges

IWa Volunteers at CongletonPhoto: Volunteers at IWA work party at Congleton

One of the initial reasons for IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch starting work parties on the Macclesfield Canal in Congleton, was because the town has been selected as one of ten UK finalist’s for Britain in Bloom in the large town category.

With judging for the Britain in Bloom awards scheduled for 6th August, the team decided to hold two additional work parties on Saturday 2nd and Monday 4th August to complete those final preparations around the canal in order to ensure it was smart and ready for the 6th. Once again there was good support for both these ‘final tidy up’ work parties.

Judging took place on Wednesday 6th August and as part of the assessment the Judges were shown the volunteers’ work around the canal area near the station. The judges made specific comment about how good it was to see the results and in particular praised the community spirit that had been a feature of the work to date with the Branch’s work parties bringing together local residents, volunteers from other work parties in Cheshire, Congleton Town Council, Congleton Sustainability Group, Northern Rail, and Sustrans.

Community and volunteer spirit is deemed to be an important factor of the Britain in Bloom competition with judge Jim Butress commenting: 'The primary point…isn’t to find out who is best… It’s about recognising the work of amazing people – whether it’s one experienced gardener who decorates their street with hanging baskets, or the group of inner-city kids who’ve turned a filthy alleyway into a growing space. Bloom provides an opportunity to champion these projects so even more people will be inspired to…do the same in their own community.' (Last stop for Britain in Bloom judges, RHS website).

The results of Britain in Bloom 2014 are to be announced at a special awards ceremony in Bristol on October 16th.

Kind Cyclist Helps at Kidderminster

IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch were joined by a kind cyclist who made an impromptu stop to lend a hand on August 13th. Volunteers were at Caldwell Lock on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal litter picking and painting lock beams and a non-slip surface on the bridge.

Work Party Prepares for 40th Anniversary

Photo: IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch August Work Party (photo by Waterway Images, Julie Arnold)Photo: IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch August Work Party (photo by Waterway Images, Julie Arnold)

Volunteers from IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch joined forces with the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust again on Thursday 14th August for their monthly joint work party on the Caldon Canal. After an intensive two months of Himalayan Balsam pulling, volunteers were happy to turn their hands to painting for a change, along with some vegetation clearance, at Cheddleton Top Lock.

The location was chosen so that the area can be spruced up ahead of the forthcoming Caldon 40 weekend at the end of September. Vegetation around the lockside was cleared back, ready for a ceremony on Sunday 28th September, the 40th anniversary of the reopening of the Caldon Canal, and handrails and lock furniture were prepared for painting.

Further details about the Caldon 40 event, which includes the IWA National AGM taking place on Saturday 27th September in Leek, can be found on the IWA website.

Painting Project at Bridgwater Docks

Photo: Painting at Bridgwater Docks (photo by Bob Abbott)Photo: Painting at Bridgwater Docks (photo by Bob Abbott)

On Saturday 23rd August, IWA West Country Branch continued work to paint the large amount of metal machinery, bollards and rings at Bridgwater Docks on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. Eleven volunteers gathered at the Docks and collectively gave fifty hours, getting the task of painting over fifty objects off to a good start. The group plan to continue the work, weather permitting, over the next few months and once finished will have given everything from bollards and rings to winches and sluice paddles a new lick of paint.

Update from the River Gipping

The River Gipping Trust, supported by IWA Ipswich Branch, has been hard at work on the River Gipping over the summer and completed the new bridge base and abutments over the by-wash and weir at Pipps Ford. The new timber bridge, constructed by volunteers, was then transported and put into place, but this is not the end of the work. Further plans are being developed subject to formal consents being given, so keep an eye out for updates.

Interested in getting involved as a volunteer with IWA? Take a look at IWA’s information on volunteering or get in touch with Stefanie Preston.

Tags: IWA Work Parties