The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, a charity, and owners of The Rose of Hungerford are calling out for more volunteers to keep the Rose running along the Kennet & Avon Canal.
The Rose of Hungerford is run entirely by fully trained volunteers. In normal times she carries over 6,000 passengers each year which raises about £40,000 for the Trust.
Launched at Great Bedwyn in August 1982 and commissioned in Hungerford in March 1983 The Rose of Hungerford is a 55’ traditional canal boat which runs public trips and private charters from Hungerford Wharf. The Rose has even carried Royal passengers. In 1990 the Trust had the honour of welcoming Her Majesty The Queen onboard for official re-opening of the Canal at Caen Hill, Devizes.
There is no fixed time for a volunteer to have to work. Once a new volunteer has completed training they can sign up for trips on the crew’s online roster as and when it suits their own timescale.
The Rose needs 5 or 6 members of crew for each trip and there are around 40 trips each month, including public trips, private charters and service trips, so the more each volunteer can do the better.
The Rose team look after their volunteers. Crew safety and welfare is paramount and no volunteer would ever be asked to do anything that they weren’t entirely happy to do. There are also a number of social events during the year in which all volunteers are included. These are very popular and provide the chance to meet and get to know other volunteers.
What do you need to become a volunteer for The Rose of Hungerford? All prospective volunteers need to be 16 or over. Interested? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. You can go out on a trip to see if you enjoy it. Some of the crew have been on the canals for years, some for the odd holiday, and some not at all – it doesn’t matter which applies to you. No experience is necessary as full training will be given.
They hope to hear from you soon.
In a usual year The Rose runs from Easter to the end of October and then operates a number of very popular Father Christmas trips in December. Trips vary in length and direction but all feature the onboard licensed bar which serves hot and cold drinks together with a selection of snacks. With efficient central heating for when it’s cold to large picture windows which can slide open when it’s hot, she is comfortable and welcoming in all weathers.
The Rose has recently been operating with strict adherence to covid regulations which have altered her running procedure and programme. For instance the normal maximum capacity of 45-50 passengers has recently been reduced to 20 to allow extra space between groups. The lift has been out of action and the bar has been offering table service but hopefully will return to normal soon.
Members of crew are responsible for various tasks and most are trained in a number of different roles so no two trips are the same. Outside roles include operating the locks, dressing the boat, casting off and mooring. Volunteers can learn to helm the boat safely and comfortably; taking her through locks and bridges, and turning her around half way through and at the end of the trip. Inside roles include working with the Skipper looking after the welfare and safety of passengers during the trip, running the licensed bar and serving hot and cold drinks and snacks. Some volunteers also run maintenance trips and cleaning sessions to make sure the boat is always ready for passengers.
There is also an opportunity to progress – a volunteer may decide to train to become one of the Skippers, who are all qualified MCA Boatmasters.