Lock Keeper Volunteers
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SummaryLock keepers carry out inspections for the restored lock on the Cotswold Canals.
All locks have a minimum of a pair of volunteers acting as Lock keepers and their work is really beginning to bear fruit. Having volunteers reporting the condition of the locks as well as keeping them spick and span, supports the valuable work of the Lengths persons and they combine well to take pride in their work, ease the pressure on the skilled teams and act as a visible ambassador for the whole canal project.
As working on a lock is closer to the water and potentially a long way from the top of the lock to the level below, often over 4 metres, the teams work in pairs and are instructed to always wear a life vest.
The duties of the Lock keepers were defined by the Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT) Lock manager and endorsed by Stroud District Council (SDC). They are:
- To work with the Lock keeping team leader to keep the balance beams and mooring bollards painted and clean on a regular basis.
- To work with the Lock keeping team leader to keep the lock mechanism well-greased.
- Keep the spillways free from rubbish and clear of vegetation if safe to do so. If too much, then call Lock keeper team leader.
- Assist the lock technical team in keeping the gates free from vegetation.
- Assist the lock technical team in any other task pertaining to each lock.
- Support the canal authorities with emergency procedures such as flood prevention. Clearing in advance fish passes/spill weirs/grills Try and identify any irresponsible dog owners to report to the team leader and mark any dog mess with yellow biodegradable paint spray.
- Assist the lock technical team in keeping the grass kept short and tidy.
- Keep signboards clean and report any damage.
- Collecting, segregating and disposing of litter as well as reporting litter ‘hot spots’ to the team leader.
- As resources permit, plant flowers and shrubs to beautify each lock.
- Act as an ambassador with the general public promoting the canal, updating them on news, answering questions and encouraging support.
Lock keepers are equipped with a litter picker, litter bag ring, polythene bags, yellow bio degradable spray paint, secateurs, Hi Viz tabard, life vest and windlass.
There are 11 locks on the restored section of Cotswold Canals and all these are appointed Lock keepers.
The lock inspection takes between 2 to 3 hours and must be carried out fortnightly. Lock inspections must be carried in pairs due to the close proximity of working with water. Inspections can out at a time convenient to you and your volunteer partner.
Because of the exceptional actions of the lock keeping team improving the appearance of the locks, there is now a friendly rivalry between locks as to whose lock is the prettiest!
Our Lock keepers are all ages, both male and female and from differing backgrounds but all bring a compulsive enthusiasm and pride in the job.
If your preferred lock already has a team covering, volunteers can join a reserve list to cover during times of volunteer absence or for when a space becomes available. Volunteers can also join the reserve list for locks under development once they are operational.
Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT) trains and equips the Lock keepers with the necessary simple tools and have clear instructions as to what is expected of them. It is expected they visit their lock at least once a fortnight and send reports in order that any works can be actioned if needed.
A familiarity with the canal route, or narrow boat experience is helpful, but mainly we provide a friendly approach to visitors and encourage them to become members!
It is useful for volunteers to cover areas close to their home, but this is not essential.
About The Cotswold Canal Trust
Since the 1970s, volunteers have undertaken restoration and maintenance of the Cotswold Canals. With work now started on Phase 1B and exciting projects planned for Phase 2, we need more volunteers than ever to help achieve our goal of preserving, maintaining and improving the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames & Severn Canal (i.e. the Cotswold Canals).
We have so many opportunities available from scrub bashing along the canal, dredging, operating a trip boat, sorting books at one of our bookshops to designing lock gates, the list is endless.
Cotswold Canals Trust Volunteers often speak of the new friendships, fun and sense of achievement they enjoy and we look forward to welcoming new volunteers to the team.