VOLUNTEERS are needed to become the ‘face of the canal’ and help keep things running smoothly and efficiently on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The Canal and River Trust, which looks after the waterway, is appealing for people to help out at Gargrave Locks, as well as Bingley Locks and Newlay Locks, Leeds.

It says with increasing numbers of people taking to the canal, either by boat, or walking along the towpath, more people are needed to help maintain it - while at the same time, getting outside and keeping fit and healthy.

Louise Linley, volunteer coordinator at the Canal and River Trust, said: “Volunteer lock keepers are the face of the canals – it’s a vital role within our charity and a great opportunity for anyone who likes spending time outside and talking to people.”

Among their duties, volunteer lock keepers help boaters through the lock system, and operate mechanical bridges, as well as talking to people about what’s happening on their waterway and sprucing up the space around the lock.

The trust is also recruiting volunteers for other roles to suit people with different skills and from different backgrounds.

Towpath rangers play a crucial role in welcoming visitors to the waterways, as well as helping out with maintenance and vegetation along the towpath, creating attractive spaces and running events along the towpath, says the trust.

It also needs ‘explorers’ who work with schools to teach pupils about anything and everything canal-related, inspiring the next generation of waterway-lovers. They can also take part in running activities on the towpath and at a range of festivals and events.

Applications for lock keeper roles are due to close on February 14. A meet and greet session is due to take place on February 26.

To find out more about all of the volunteering opportunities, and also on area ‘towpath taskforce, visit the website: canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer

Ongoing work on 11.7 km of the towpath is due to be completed towards the end of next month.