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Autism East Midlands have adopted a stretch of the Chesterfield Canal to help the Canal & River Trust make it an even more special place for local people. Autism East Midlands has answered the call by the Trust, the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, by agreeing to adopt a one-mile stretch of the Chesterfield Canal in Retford. The adoption runs from Carolgate Bridge in the town centre to the railway bridge near West Town Wood.

As part of the adoption a team from Autism East Midlands’s Tall Trees Day Service, based on Rectory Road in Retford, will help the Trust to ensure that the canal is a tidy, welcoming place for local people and visitors. The volunteers will be helping the Trust with tasks such as clearing litter, tackling dog mess and reporting fly tipping.

The first team from Tall Trees, made up both of staff and people that use Autism East Midlands’ services, headed out onto the canal on Friday 30th June to improve the look of the canal by picking litter, locating and reporting dog mess so another team could clear it and checking the canal for damage so maintenance can be planned.

Waterway adoptions give people the chance to make a real difference to their communities by helping to improve their canals and rivers. At a hands-on level they get involved in activities specific to their waterway, from recording and improving wildlife habitats or maintaining a local towpath, to helping run educational or community events. Most groups meet regularly each month to ensure their stretch continues to thrive.

Wayne Ball, volunteer coordinator for the Canal & River Trust, commented

We’re delighted to be working with Autism East Midlands on the Chesterfield Canal. As a charity the support of local groups like this is invaluable and adoptions are a great way for people to get involved and make a real difference to the community. The Chesterfield Canal is such an important part of local life and the volunteers will play a vital role in helping to ensure that that canal is looking its best both for people living nearby and those visiting the area.

Matthew Orford, Director of Adult Services at Autism East Midlands, added

We would like to thank the Canal & River Trust for their support. We are excited by this opportunity and grateful for the fantastic support we have received from their Volunteer Team Leader, Lee Taylor. Working within the local community is important to us and enhancing Retford’s environment by helping to keep the canal tidy and well maintained helps us do this. We have already had positive feedback on our work from the public. There has been great team work from our service users who have increased their independence and knowledge of the environment and nature by working on the canal.

To find out more about the work of the Canal & River Trust, and how you can get involved, go to www.canalrivertrust.org.uk