October 2013 Volunteer Work Parties
October was a month of big clean-ups with weekend events happening in both Greater Manchester and Milton Keynes. In addition to these events there were another twelve work parties held by IWA volunteers across the country, read on to find out what they got up to.
IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch – Saturday 5th
Volunteer activity is starting to increase on the Dee Arm with IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch now holding regular work parties in the run up to the IWA National Campaign Festival 2014, which will be held on the arm. This month IWA volunteers painted the Graving Lock gates, whilst five Towpath Task force volunteers completed vegetation clearance on the main line towpath. Chester University volunteers had also been litter picking the week before.
Photo above - volunteers on the Dee Arm.
IWA Warwickshire Branch – Sunday 6th & Sunday 20th
IWA Warwickshire Branch was out volunteering on the waterways several times in October at Hatton, Lapworth and Warwick. On the 6th, nineteen volunteers met at Hatton Locks to tackle the vegetation that was encroaching on the offside path. The vegetation had been cut back earlier in the year but had grown considerably over the summer.
The work party on Sunday 20th was held in Warwick. IWA members were joined by thirty members of the community, including a youth group, who used grappling hooks to remove rubbish from the Grand Union Canal. The volunteers were surprised to find a substantial haul of trolleys, bikes, a motorbike, roadwork signs, and part of a boat considering the stretch of canal had only been cleared earlier in the year. The branch was happy to see such support from their local community and hope to get even more people involved next time.
IWA Lichfield Branch – Friday 18th & Sunday 27th
IWA Lichfield Branch is another branch that is often out working in their local community having established Rugeley Regeneration Project Work Parties. On the 18th volunteers continued with this project as they worked on path improvements and re-building the canal wall. Two new volunteers also joined the group, which is always nice to see.
There were concerns before the next work party as the weather forecast for the 27th was the worst seen for a while. However, these worries were unfounded as eight brave people turned out and in the end it barely rained. Terry Drake from Canal and River Trust joined the work party and carried out Clive and Richard’s strimmer assessments whilst the rest of the group worked to clear the decking area.
IWA Milton Keynes Branch – Friday 18th-Sunday 20th
IWA Milton Keynes Branch hosted one of the big October clean-ups. The branch is renowned for their biannual clean-ups in Spring and Autumn. This weekend the thirty-five volunteers, supported by six CRT staff and sponsored by Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd., contributed 298 volunteer hours and covered ten miles of the Grand Union Canal. Approximately ten tons of rubbish was hauled out of the canal, including a telephone answering machine, a wheel clamp, golf bag, an epee, a fridge freezer, two baby buggies and chocolate bars. This year only five supermarket trolleys were recovered which is the lowest number that anyone can remember.
Photo courtesy of Vernon Draper.
IWA Greater Manchester Branch – Saturday 19th-Sunday 20th
The second big clean-up of October was Operation Starburst, organised by IWA Manchester Branch, CRT and supported by Waterway Recovery Goup. Over 100 volunteers met at Portland Basin before splitting into five groups to work in five different locations. These locations were Hyde (Lower Peak Forest Canal), Stalybridge (Huddersfield Narrow Canal), Clayton (Ashton Canal), Newton Heath (Rochdale Canal) and Failsworth (Rochdale Canal).
Across the five sites the invasive weed Floating Pennywort was tackled; painting of locks, cranes and tunnels completed; vegetation cut back; towpaths repaired; and rubbish pulled from the canals. Two work boats and a further sixty-nine black bin bags were filled with rubbish that included numerous bicycles, tyres, mangled shopping trolleys, a crutch, fence panels and road signs.
IWA Northampton Branch – Sunday 27th
On Sunday 27th October, IWA Northampton Branch’s work party of nine volunteers, including two new members to the Branch, carried out litter picking between Lock 17 and the Towcester Road bridge on the Northampton Arm. In addition the group carried out extensive vegetation clearance to improve both the appearance of access around the area of Lock 17. The work party was led by Geoff Wood.
IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch – Sunday 27th
Another branch that holds biannual clean-ups is IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch. The branch organise work parties on the Sundays when the clocks change in Spring and Autumn. The group work on the Tinsley & Sheffield Canal and on the 27th were supported by Abbeydale Rotary Club and Adsetts Canal Project. Twenty-two volunteers were involved in the clean-up and collected forty-five bags of rubbish including a canvas chair, a television and a fridge.
Other work parties that took place in October include IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch’s work parties on the Caldon Canal and the Cheshire locks as well as further events in Northampton and Lapworth. For more information about upcoming work parties take a look at the IWA Events Calendar.