National Volunteer Week (1-7 June)

To support Volunteers’ Week we wanted to say thanks to all our 250 volunteers for the fantastic  work they are doing to help ‘Keep our Canal Alive’. Indeed if you fancy doing some volunteering, why not contact us as there are lots of opportunities to help and be involved with the Canal.

A Tuesday work party about to set out on the canal

Going forward the volunteer work in supporting the Canal will probably become even more important as the current Covid crisis is putting severe pressure on already stretched council funds (Surrey and Hampshire councils own the canal and fund it in conjunction with the local councils). So it becomes all the more important that the local community ensures that ‘we do our bit’ in helping support the canal – yes we welcome donations, but what  better way than to do some volunteering?

So how can you help?

Our website lists the main volunteer roles available. These range from people working outside in working parties managing the towpaths, cutting back vegetation along with doing some building work, through to crewing the trip boats at Woking, Mytchett and Odiham, along with lengthsmen who regularly walk local lengths of the canal and are the ‘eyes and ears’ reporting back any issues. However what people often forget is the huge amount of work going on behind-the-scenes including projects, planning, fundraising, communications, publicity and promotion. We also spend time working with the local councils and the canal management.

Another work party “scrub bashing” near the canal

Covid has obviously put some of the outside work temporarily on hold, although we are looking at when we can get the trip boats and working parties up and running again, in line with government guidelines. In the meantime, lengthsmen continue to monitor the canal, and as mentioned, behind-the-scenes a considerable amount of work is going on to help protect and improve the canal for both us now and future generations. Indeed it is with some of this work that we particularly need help – if you have any experience in the following areas, and would like to help your local canal, then please get in touch with us:

  • project management : work as part of a team in planning and implementing projects
  • fundraising : we need fresh ideas and help in raising donations, grants, etc
  • marketing, press and communications : help us get the message out!
  • lobbying and liaising with local councils :

Volunteering is great fun and it is very satisfying working with a team like minded other volunteers. Indeed it is particularly rewarding being involved in helping protect such a wonderful local amenity as the Basingstoke Canal which is enjoyed by everyone be you a walker, runner, boater, or however you use the canal – including perhaps someone who just wants to enjoy the peace and quite of the Canal.

The fact that we already have 250 volunteers tells you how much people enjoy being involved, so if you are interested and/or want to find out more, please look at our website or email

We look forward to hearing from you – and thanks again to all of our existing volunteers.

Ken Sankey

Director, The Basingstoke Canal Society