PRESS RELEASE: Young volunteers out in force at first Waterway Recovery Group family Camp

Issue date: 1st August 2017

Waterway Recovery Group’s first ever family weekend camp took place over the weekend of 22nd & 23rd July in Staffordshire.  Hosted by the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, and supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, the event saw six families spending a weekend carrying out a variety of tasks around Crumpwood near Denstone on the Uttoxeter Canal.  

Seven young people aged between 9 and 12, accompanied by their parents or grandparents, enjoyed the residential weekend canal camp staying in nearby hostel accommodation.  Part of the fun for the families was the experience of helping the WRG team provide catering and refreshments for the group and joining in with evening games and activities.  

Families enthusiastically joined in with volunteers, undertaking activities such as clearing Himalayan balsam (followed by a competition for the best sculpture created out of this invasive plant), removing vegetation from the core stones from the boreholes for the nearby pumping station, and making and installing bat boxes for the resident bats near bridge 70 on the canal. Others carried out an exploratory dig for the base of the old towpath bridge across the River Churnet.

Steve Wood, Deputy Chairman of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, said “We are very pleased to have hosted WRG’s first ever family volunteering weekend, and the Trust is very happy with the amount of useful work that was carried out by the families over the two days.  It was great to introduce young people to volunteering on canal restoration projects, and to see the families enjoying each others company in the beautiful surroundings of the Churnet Valley”.

One of the young people taking part said:  “It was a really great weekend because we got to make new friends and have fun.  My favourite activity was the Himalayan balsam sculpture competition because it was easy to pull up and it also helped the environment.”

Jenny Black, WRG’s volunteers co-ordinator, said: “Following the success of this weekend WRG intends to organise a number of family camps next year, and we would like to hear from any canal society interested in hosting a weekend. Families interested in booking a place should look out for details being announced early next year.”



Families gather for a group photograph at the end of WRG’s first family camp weekend.  

Higher resolution versions and alternative images available on request.  

Press Contact

For further information please contact Alison Smedley, Press Office, The Inland Waterways Association, by emailing or phoning 07779 090915.

Notes for Editors

The Inland Waterways Association

IWA is The Inland Waterways Association, a membership charity that works to protect and restore the country's 6,500 miles of canals and rivers.  IWA is a national organisation with a network of volunteers and branches who deploy their expertise and knowledge to work constructively with navigation authorities, government and other organisations.  

IWA - Keeping our waterways alive.
Waterway Recovery Group

IWA's Waterway Recovery Group provides practical and technical support to waterways restoration projects across the country as well as providing skills training for volunteers.

Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust

Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust campaigns about the Caldon Canal which is a popular waterway for visiting boats and walkers and which links Stoke-on-Trent with the Staffordshire Moorlands.  The Trust also aims to preserve the line of the Uttoxeter Canal, to promote the creation of a walking route along the line of the canal and ultimately restore some or all of the canal to navigation.

The first lock and basin of the Uttoxeter Canal at Froghall were restored, with volunteer input led by the Trust, and reopened in July 2005.  The Trust is currently working around Crumpwood Weir and its adjacent locks where the Uttoxeter Canal crossed the River Churnet between the villages of Alton and Denstone, following on from the restoration of nearby Bridge 70.       

Families gather for a group photograph at the end of WRG’s first family camp weekend.  

Higher resolution versions and alternative images available on request. 

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