Chichester Canal trust thanks volunteers as boat trips resume on city’s waterways

As part of Volunteer Week 2021 Chichester Ship Canal Trust is thanking those who help keep the organisation running.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 2:17 pm

The trust relies on more than 100 volunteers throughout the year to help maintain the waterway, keep the towpath accessible, run boat trips and help customers in the café, as well as behind-the-scenes governance.

Through the winter, even as the canal operations were paused, prospective volunteers were still getting in touch with the canal to find out about roles and offer their time.

Trust vice-chairman Catherine Cannon said: “It was so encouraging to continue to receive enquiries, in fact we even had to pause volunteer recruitment as some of our roles were over-subscribed. It’s been lovely now moving into the spring to be able to meet people and welcome them to the canal family.

Kingfisher on the canal. Photo by Meryn Woodland

“We are enormously grateful to our volunteers who give their time to help make the canal the very special place it is, enjoyed by so many residents and visitors every year.

“We know from the feedback we receive how much their contribution is appreciated, and we simply couldn’t operate without them.

“Volunteer Week is a perfect opportunity to recognise their commitment and for us to say a huge thank you.”

The trust’s volunteer boat crews restarted their popular boat trips two weeks ago.

Volunteers helping to maintain the waterway. Photo: Amanda Lambert

Having not been on the water since the autumn, they have spent time this spring updating required skills.

For experienced crew members, this meant refresher training in fire safety, passenger evacuation and first aid, as well as circuits and bumps around the canal basin.

For new crew members, they have been undergoing mate’s training courses run by the training team, lead by John Harvey.

The engineering team, under Chris Grimes, has also been busy sprucing up the appearance of the Kingfisher and Richmond trip boats with a lick of paint, making sure they are ‘ship-shape and Bristol fashion’.

Trip boat operations director, volunteer Ian Jackson, said: “Crewing our boats is one of the most popular volunteer roles at the canal.

“At one point we had a waiting list of new volunteers, whose training had been interrupted by the recurring lockdowns.

“Our skippers, mates and hopefully soon our cabin crews can’t wait to get out on the water, put their skills into practice and welcome customers onto the boat trips.”

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