A stretch of the Shropshire Union Canal in Chester has been adopted by the Richmond Court homeless shelter.

Residents at the shelter will be helping the Canal & River Trust take care of this area of canal as part of the charity’s Adopt a Canal initiative.

The group starts work this month (March), initially taking part in an angling and photography workshop. Their first hands-on task will be painting the railings alongside the canal near Hoole Lock.

Development and engagement manager for the Canal & River Trust Ani Sutton said: “Canals and rivers are a terrific resource to have on our doorstep and we only hope more people follow the lead of groups like this in caring for their local waterway. Sarah McGrady, the group leader, is obviously very proud of this waterway and it’s great that the homeless shelter are doing their bit to help improve the local area.

“Our time and money is spent on major priority repairs like repairing locks, bridges, aqueducts and towpaths, so the work of our amazing volunteer groups is essential and brings huge and equally vital benefits.”

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Communities across England and Wales are invited to adopt mile-long lengths of canal or river and help transform some of the trust’s 2,000 miles of waterways, and more than 100 groups have now joined the scheme up and down the country in a bid to improve canals and rivers.

Full details about Waterway Adoptions can be found at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer or by contacting volunteer@canalrivertrust.org.uk / 0303 040 4040.

At a hands-on level the trust will work with the group to understand what work needs to be done, whether it’s to record and improve wildlife habitats, maintain towpaths, help fundraise, run educational events or help combat anti-social behaviour.