Volunteers' Week - Volunteering Round Up
IWA volunteers get involved in all aspects of the waterways – that means restoring abandoned and derelict waterways, protecting current navigable stretches and taking care of the surrounding environment.
Volunteers are at the heart of everything IWA does and we would not be able to carry out our work without their continued support and dedication - this Volunteers' Week we are very proud to be able to look back at just some of the many ways these individuals contribute to the waterways and say a huge Thank You to everyone who gives up their time to ensure they continue to thrive for all to enjoy.
Gren Messham – Navigation
Gren has been an IWA member for over 30 years, starting his boating experience on a Barrington Boats Springer from Stenson Lock, up the Trent and Mersey Canal with his family. He began his volunteering on the waterways as a Navvy with Waterway Recovery Group, after he attended a work party at Frankton run by John Baylis and loved it!
Since then he has become a Trustee and Chair’s IWA’s Navigation Committee. One of the most important pieces of work that Gren has been involved in is coordinating IWA’s response to the impact of HS2 on our waterways. With Navigation Committee he has also been campaigning tirelessly for the transfer of EA Waterways to CRT.
Talking about volunteering, Gren said:
“Everyone has individual skills and expertise from their life, their work, their background and their interests in inland waterways. The more of us there are, the more effective IWA will be. There is plenty to do…big and little tasks, every bit makes a difference.”
Eli Mathieson – Restoration
Eli’s first WRG Camp was Christmas 1993, having been persuaded to go along by some friends who had previously been on Canal Camps as part of the Duke of Edinburgh's scheme - she has not looked back since! Eli has established herself as one of the best Camp cooks going, but as well as cooking for hoards of WRGies on Camps and at events, Eli (like so many other IWA and WRG volunteers) is part of her local canal restoration group. Eli is treasurer for Kent and East Sussex Canal Restoration Group, who work on canal restoration projects throughout the South East.
On volunteering, Eli said:
“If you want to get involved then give it a go, everyone has something that they can bring.”
John Brighouse – Environment
John Brighouse is a member of IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and has been actively volunteering with IWA since 2013. The branch holds work parties in four areas of their region and John is the work party organiser for Cheshire Locks.
The Cheshire Locks working parties focus on the locks from the Harecastle Tunnel as far as Wheelock. As well as painting of the locks John’s team clears back overgrowing vegetation and undertakes a number of smaller ancillary jobs to improve the overall appearance of the area.
In 2016, John’s work, along with the other volunteers on his work parties, was formally recognised when they got to the final round of the CRT Living Waterways Awards.
For those thinking of volunteering, John says:
“Just come along and have a go…you will learn new skills and the feeling of satisfaction when you look back on the day's achievements is wonderful. There is also a great feeling of camaraderie amongst the volunteers; everyone working together just because they want to see improvement.”
Interested in joining our team of volunteers? Find out more about our available opportunities at waterways.org.uk/volunteer.
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