The Canal & River Trust is urging local communities in Bassetlaw to help the waterways on their doorstep, by ‘adopting’ a one-mile stretch of local canal.
The trust is particularly keen to hear from groups interested in working on the Chesterfield Canal at places like Worksop, Retford and Shireoaks.
A section of the canal has already been adopted by Retford & Worksop Boat Club and the trust is eager to see more people getting involved on other stretches such as those at Ranby, Osberton, Clarborough, Clayworth and Misterton.
Adoption groups will work in partnership with the trust in order to make their local waterway shine; anything from improving wildlife habitats and access for local people, to creating a linear orchard for the community.
Each group works at least one day a month for 12 months and agrees the projects they want to prioritise to make their mile matter.
Richard Parry, Canal & River Trust chief executive, said “Local waterways are arguably as important today as they have ever been.
“They have evolved from freight highways to linear parks in our towns and cities.
“They are places for us all to escape – havens for both people and wildlife.
“But to make sure this valuable legacy thrives into the future, we need to capitalise on the huge pride people have in them and encourage groups to work alongside us to make it happen.
“We see how much a stretch of canal is improved if local people are helping us to look after it, that’s why we’ve set an ambitious target for people to show their love for their local canal.”
The appeal is being supported by TV personality and outdoor champion Julia Bradbury.
She commented: “Two hundred years ago, canals helped to transform the face of Britain, bringing about unprecedented change to our economy and society.
“The legacy we have today is amongst the finest examples of industrial heritage in the world, yet the biggest threat our waterways face is apathy.
“Last century it was pioneering volunteers who rolled up their sleeves to help save the waterways from being lost forever.
“And today when I’m out exploring and taking in the waterways I’ve seen what a difference it makes when local communities come together and make their stretch come to life.
“I’d encourage anyone with a community spirit and a bit of time to spare to see how they can get involved”.
There are already more than 160 adoption groups working across the country, including scouts, neighbourhood societies, running groups and schools.
To help people find their nearest stretch of canal, the trust has published an online map that showcases existing adoption groups and areas that are available for people to support.
For full details visit https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/adopt-a-canal
The charity also has more informal volunteer opportunities so that anyone can get involved with caring for the waterways.
For information, go to www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer