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Working with volunteers

Volunteers can not only help waterway management organisations like Canal & River Trust and Scottish Canals with certain maintenance tasks and the like – but they can achieve a number of personal benefits as they do this. In other countries the use of a volunteer work force is somewhat different. In Belgium for example they are taken on by organisations in the social economy and by social enterprises to carry out fairly basic tasks (‘green maintenance‘ is an example.) We have considered all these various aspects of volunteering and want to present our conclusions and recommendations as to how this activity can be extended more widely across Europe. Partners are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about this - and the exchanges and joint learning throughout the project helps extend this much wider than if we were working alone.

More about this collaboration

Improvements to the Caldon Canal

The Caldon Canal is used as the infrastructure for accredited training for young people to enhance their employability via skills enhancement and broadening their social skills through teamworking. A mixture of well established and new volunteers - groups and individuals - and unemployed young people undertake environmental, heritage and access improvements, improving the wildlife, heritage and tourism value of the canal.

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Amphibian projects and willow coppicing

Peoples living in Mid-West-Flanders often do not know their own region or the nature that is present within the region. Thanks to volunteering in two kind of projects supporting amphibians, they appreciate nature more.

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Neighbourhood Green

In collaboration with the city of Roeselare, the maintenance of neighbourhood green is executed by a social economy enterprise. The enterprise has a lot of freedom to plan their maintenance, as they have to reach a defined view for the neighbourhood.

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Canal College

An outdoors heritage skills training programme for young people living in Edinburgh or Falkirk. 16-25 year old volunteers, who are not in employment, education or training, complete the 14 week course on the Forth & Clyde Canal, Union Canal and at The Falkirk Wheel. The course is free to the participants.

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Community Networking on the River Suir

In partnership with stakeholders and communities on the River Suir, Tipperary County Council has worked to implement actions to connect people to the river.

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Gingerbread cafe and cookery school

Gingerbread Cafe offers volunteering, training and employment opportunities to local people, including those from disadvantaged groups. Gingerbread Cafe is run on a not for profit basis by Forth Valley Enterprise, whose aim is to develop and manage a number of services and projects, which will benefit the local community of Falkirk and surrounding areas.

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Forth Valley Top Toes

Forth Valley Top Toes provides a personal toenail clipping service to people over the age of 50 who have no underlying medical conditions but are unable to cut their own toenails.

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Re-Union Canal Boats

Re-Union exists to create inspiring spaces where people can re-connect with each other and their communities. To that end Re-Union builds boats, crews and communities.

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Trendy Tribes

Trendy Tribes is an aspiring social enterprise set up to help alleviate social isolation amongst women. They provide creative craft workshops where women can explore their creativity whilst building self-confidence, self-esteem and develop skills to support employment opportunities.

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