Report: BCNS and National Citizen Service weekends

BCNS hosted an induction and a work party for eleven 16 year olds from the National Citizen Service over the last 2 weekends. They were all from the Smethwick area but had little or no knowledge of the canals around them.

The induction takes place at the Pump House and is an introduction for the teenagers about the canals and the Society. We use slides to introduce topics such as restoration, work boats, heritage and well being and this then leads into a question and answer session. The teenagers usually have some project they are working on and thus their questions tend to reflect whatever task they have been set. This year there was a particular emphasis on pollution and the impact upon wildlife.

The work party then takes place on the following weekend where we use our work boat Phoenix to take the teenagers out onto the canal to assist with a clean up using grappling hooks and litter pickers. Steve Lambert from CRT attends and gives the teenagers a quick safety talk and demonstration and supplies all the necessary equipment and personal protection (gloves). We had a very successful foray onto the Titford canal recovering about 8 trolleys and an old stacker trolley probably related to the Langley Maltings further along the canal. After lunch we took them down several locks giving them experience of steering and locking. It seems strange to us (as we live and breathe the canals) but the teenagers really have no idea how a lock works and their reaction when they understand what is happening is always a pleasure to see.

It was a very worthwhile event and we’re going to be doing it all again at the end of the month with another group from NCS. (Work Party 3rd August).