Wey & Arun Canal Trust volunteers clocked up an impressive 21,807 hours of work in 2020, despite the limitations of lockdown.
The figure was just 5,614 down on the previous year, showing the dedication from working party members, boat crew and back office volunteers to the Trust and its aims.
Working parties were stood down during the spring lockdown and again at the end of the year, and the Trust also missed the visiting working party camps it benefited from in 2019 when three week-long camps were held, along with numerous weekend visits.
When regular working parties were able to resume, teams were kept to small groups to manage the restrictions, but several working parties increased the number of days they operated. The EWG, which usually operates on a Thursday, began working across five days a week with reduced numbers to make up for lost time on the Harsfold Bridge project at Wisborough Green. Despite winter storms, flooding and the pandemic hampering construction, the team managed to complete the project on time in the late summer as a result.
Volunteers were also able to work across several days at the latest major project, the Tickner’s Heath road crossing at Alfold, Surrey.
Operating during the pandemic also created extra hours for the directors and back office volunteers, as they worked on how to operate the Canal Centre, boat trips and working parties safely. Their efforts meant the Canal Centre operated and boat cruises were able to run from August through to the end of December, bringing in much needed funds.
Chairman Sally Schupke thanked all those involved in the Trust for their hard work in such difficult times. “The thousands of hours put in by our loyal volunteers is truly inspiring. Without them we wouldn’t be able to achieve the successes we continue to make. The past year has been challenging for so many, and our volunteers have stepped up and carried on, and I thank them for that.”
Volunteers carry out many varied tasks for Trust, from outside physical jobs such as maintenance and restoration, to behind-the-scenes roles such as helping with admin, marketing and publicity, accounts and fundraising. Volunteers are also needed to help in the Canal Centre in Loxwood, and as cabin crew for the boat operation.
If you would like to volunteer in any way, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest. Please note, working parties are currently not in operation due to Covid restrictions.