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Discover more about canal volunteering

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Prospective canal volunteers can find out more about exciting ways to get involved in helping restore historic canals when a major national conference comes to Stroud.

The 2022 Waterway Restoration Conference will be taking place at the Subscription Rooms in Stroud on Saturday, March 26th and members of the public can find out more about volunteering opportunities, on the Sub Rooms forecourt.

Cotswold Canals Connected is encouraging those interested in volunteering to come along and have a chat with the various partners to see what type of volunteer work they would be best suited to. There is a wide variety of opportunities, from office-based roles to maintenance-based roles which involve working with nature.

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The project is led by Stroud District Council and Cotswold Canals Trust.

Leader of Stroud District Council, Doina Cornell said: “Cotswold Canals Connected is a great example of a successful multi-partnership organisation, that has achieved so much and plans to deliver much more. Volunteers have given more than 100,000 hours to the project in so many ways and there are many roles available.”

Five miles of canal, nine locks and six miles of towpath between Thrupp and Stonehouse have been restored and now work is focussed on connecting Stroud and Stonehouse to the nation’s inland waterway network at Saul. It follows The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s decision to grant £8.9million to the Cotswold Canals Connected Project towards multi-million pound project.

More information is available at www.cotswoldcanalsconnected.org

Separately, the 2022 Waterway Restoration Conference takes place inside the Sub Rooms from 9.30am to 2.30pm, and will be attended by canal restoration groups from around the country. The conference is held annually by the Inland Waterways Association and Canal & River Trust and features different organisations and themes each year.

This year the conference will focus on ‘overcoming obstacles and seizing opportunities’. There will be a range of speakers, as well as the opportunity to attend a breakout session focused on either youth engagement or a technical topic.

Speakers and topics this year include:

  • Jim White, Chair of the Cotswold Canals Trust, leading strategic partner in Cotswold Canals Connected – Reconnecting Stroud to the National Canal Network, focusing on the A38 roundabout in Whitminster
  • Chris Mitford-Slade, Project Director of Cotswold Canals Connected – Importance of partnership and community engagement and the political influence in place
  • Various partners working on the restoration of the Montgomery Canal – Levelling Up Fund and a case study

Restoration Coordinator, Katie Woodroffe, at the Canal & River Trust said:

“The Inland Waterway Association & Canal & River Trust are thrilled to be hosting this annual event in the town of Stroud to showcase our support to this incredible waterway restoration project.  We are proud to be members of the Cotswold Canals Connected partnership and look forward to seeing the project progress towards its connection with the wider network.”

Although registration for the conference closed on Friday 18 March, there will be more places available upon request. Find out more here: https://waterways.org.uk/support/ways-to-get-involved/events/waterway-restoration-conference-2022

Those that are interested in volunteering opportunities can feel free to drop in at their own leisure and have a chat with the Cotswold Canals Connected partners.

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