N.B. Whilst you are welcome to come to see any of our activities, we insist that you become a member of the Trust before volunteering regularly. This is primarily for insurance purposes.
We have a small group which meets virtually every Thursday morning at Hollingwood Hub. They go through the huge volumes of papers, leaflets, letters, maps, minutes, leases, photographs, magazines etc. that have been collected by scores of individuals over dozens of years. They sort them out and file them. This is a very slow, but very interesting process and lots of wonderful, forgotten information has come to light. The result will be a treasure trove for future historians as well as very useful currently for the Trust.
There are lots of jobs that need to be done at Hollingwood Hub. Keeping the display information well stocked and up to date, weekly fire checks, doing running repairs, preparing the David Trickett Meeting Room for the next event, meeting people who hire the room and making sure that everything is sorted out afterwards, arranging for annual services, responding to emergencies etc. It is best if you live fairly close to the Hub and have your own transport.
Our magazine comes out every three months. We need to put about 1400 copies into envelopes, label them and add other things such as membership renewal forms. This is done at Hollingwood Hub and takes less than two hours, well lubricated by coffee, cakes and chat.
We run occasional festivals for which we need people in the planning stages and lots on the days before and during the festival.
The garden at Hollingwood Hub, needs constant attention. Planting and weeding are year round tasks. You are welcome to go and do a bit at any time.
We have an ex-British Waterways work boat called Python. It is over 80- years old. A dedicated group of volunteers look after it and take it to canal events right round the system in the summer months. They always need volunteers to take it to the events as well as staffing it when moored up.
We also have a Cuckoo boat, unique to our canal. This has been built from scratch using the original methods – no power tools. It was launched in the Spring of 2015 and will be taken to various events along the eastern part of the canal; either towed by Python or by a horse. Volunteers are needed to run and maintain the boat as well as staff it at events.
Maintenance in Derbyshire
This might be a mile where you walk regularly and will do a litter pick. It might be the bywash of a lock that you will agree to clear two or three times a week. It might be a picnic area that you will keep clean. It might be a notice board that you will keep up to date. The joy of this plan is that you can do it at a time that suits you.
There will be other, less frequent jobs, such as painting lock gates, fixing broken benches, repairing fences or cutting back vegetation. These would be done under the direction of the Derbyshire Countryside Rangers.
The idea is not to do the Rangers jobs for them. It is to relieve them of simple tasks that anyone can do, so that they have more time to do the more complicated, skilled or more dangerous work for which they are trained.
All the work will be overseen by the DCC Countryside Service. All volunteers will be briefed and trained by Rangers before starting their duties.
We have a trailer, called the James Brindley, that we take to all sorts of events throughout the year to tell the public about the canal and the Trust. It is sometimes used purely for promotional purposes, e.g. in town centres, but is often accompanied by our gazebo running fundraising activities such as tombola, booksales etc. We need volunteers to drive the towing van and help set up the trailer as well as staff it. This is hugely rewarding, because so many people tell us how much they love the canal.
We currently run four tripboats – the John Varley in Chesterfield, Madeline at Hollingwood Hub, the Hugh Henshall in Worksop and the Seth Ellis in Retford. All four do special public trips as well as charters. We need crews to run the trips – skippers, lock operators, stewards etc. – plus further people for maintenance. The more volunteers we have the better; it is not uncommon for boats to be out on five or more days a week in the summer months. If you decide that this is for you, we will train you to become a skipper; we have trainers for the NCBA and RYA schemes.
Our Work Party does the physical restoration of the canal and some maintenance work. They have restored four of the locks on the Derbyshire section, built a fifth from scratch and are currently building Hartington Harbour. They meet every Sunday and often on other days as well. It is usually hard physical labour. Skilled bricklayers are very welcome, but there are plenty of other jobs, such as cement mixing, digging, dumper driving and of course the key person is the tea masher! If you become a regular member of the Work Party, we will supply you with the necessary safety equipment.