It's only been a couple of weeks since I was last in touch, but as we get up and going things are moving more quickly so I have another update, which I hope will be of particular interest for those of you who are thinking about volunteering with us.
Work party report
It was great to get the first work party in almost a year and a half under our belts, and to be joined by some familiar faces. On one of the hottest days in ages, we concentrated on the area close to Luke Street, where we need to improve access for the upcoming path laying project. Great progress was made and plans were also made for what we will be doing over the next few work parties. A substantial amount of rubbish was also collected. As the site has become more overgrown during lockdown it has become a target for an antisocial minority who seem happy to dump their rubbish where they think it won't be seen. Hopefully as we get the area back into better order this problem will reduce.
Here is a photo that shows the Luke Street entrance as it was being cleared by our volunteers. When we started, this whole area was covered by vegetation to head height. By the time we decided to call it a day (a little earlier than planned because it was so hot) it was possible to properly see in and out of the site, and to safely use the steps.
Thanks, as ever, to our dedicated volunteers for your effort and enthusiasm. Thanks also to the two local residents who took the time to come and talk to us and say how much they appreciated what we are doing.
Upcoming work parties
While we were working, we had discussions about when future work parties should take place. My own changed work commitments mean that I cannot resume the previous pattern of Tuesday work parties, so we have settled on the first Friday of each month as the regular diary date. We may add other Fridays if there is a particular task to be done but I can now confirm than the next couple of regular dates will be 6th August and 3rd September. It is possible that an additional Friday date maybe added at the end of August, depending on progress with both our volunteers and contractors who are assisting with clearance of some parts of the site. We are concentrating volunteer efforts on the areas that can't easily be done with machinery.
Work parties run from 10am to 3pm. You are welcome for a couple of hours or all day. Meet at Luke St, Middleport, Stoke on Trent, ST6 3LY. All tools and equipment will be provided. Volunteers are advised to wear old clothes, stout shoes and to bring waterproofs in case of rain and a packed lunch if staying all day. If you have any, please bring your own gloves as this is helpful from a COVID security point of view. For further information please contact me, Steve Wood, on 07976 805858 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please check the website calendar before attending as any late changes will be published there and on our social media. You can also call or text me from 8am on the morning of any work party to confirm the details.
Those of you that have looked at our social media or website recently, or who attended Etruria Boat Gathering a couple of weeks ago, will have seen that we proposed to begin the Footsteps path laying project on 14th August. For various reasons, not least the clash with summer holidays of various volunteers who were hoping to be involved, we have decided to reschedule and instead begin on Saturday 11th September. We then plan to be working every day until 19th September, which is the date of the public event mentioned in my previous newsletter. Unlike our regular monthly work parties we are asking people to sign up for this task so that we can better plan what work will be done each day. You can do this via our website, by using the calendar page for September. Volunteers who had signed up for the original dates have been contacted.
Welcome, and thanks, to those of you who are reading your first Burslem Port Update. We really do appreciate the additional support that has come in following the publicity we have undertaken in recent weeks. You may hear me if you are listening to Six Towns Radio one morning in the next week or so (sorry I can't tell you when other than that it will most likely be a live interview in the breakfast show) and I know that at least a couple of you signed up after hearing a conversation I had with Sonya on the Local & Live programme on Hitmix a couple of Sundays ago. Please do remember that one way you can all very easily help us at present is to spread the word about our project to your friends and family. Why not mention us on social media pages? Our recent news updates and emails can be found on the news section of our website if you would like to link to them. We'd also love to see any of your own photos or stories of the canal, both recently or in the past.
Steve Wood, Work Party Organiser