Do you have time to spare, need exercise and all the fresh air you can handle? Why not become actively involved?

To find out more about volunteering, please contact us via email at We’ll be able to tell you what we do and why we do it, and the different roles available, you can discuss what role (or roles!) might work for you and we can arrange for you to meet some of our volunteers.

We currently raise money to maintain and develop the Canal by running trip boats, serving refreshments at the Café, hiring rowing boats and selling paddleboard, canoe and fishing licences.

We carry over 10,000 passengers on the boats each year and serve nearly 40,000 customers at the Cafe. We are a completely voluntary organisation and we could not operate without our loyal group of volunteers.

As a volunteer, you can . . .

  • Join our Trading Board to look after the commercial operations of the charity or our Trust Board to set the direction and priorities for the charity
  • Discover more about Chichester Canal, the local history, nature and environment.
  • Acquire skills such as hospitality, retail, first aid, engineering and driving boats.
  • Take part in trips and events.
  • Meet other people like yourself – and people not like yourself!
  • Get outdoors and dirty, working on canal restoration and maintenance.
  • Learn how to be a crew member.
  • Get involved in maintaining the boats and keeping them running.
  • Train in helming boats and eventually for an MCA Boatmaster’s Licence.

Our volunteering opportunities are open to all. We try to cater to people’s differing reasons for becoming involved, as well as their abilities, skills and time available. We can never have too many volunteers. Skills are appreciated, but so is enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Here is an idea of the range of opportunities:

Management and Administration

We always need Volunteers to help us with the management and running of our charity. This can include organising events, project management, serving on our Trust and Trading boards, helping us with marketing, finance, operations, training and more.

 We are currently seeking volunteers with commercial, retail or operations experience to join our Trading Company.

The Trading Company operates most of the public services that are provided at the Canal. This includes our Cafe, trip boats, fishing and rowing boats. It is also responsible for the maintenance of the Canal and its boats.
The Board meets up to 8 times a year to discuss and agree objectives, budget setting, progress against objectives and current issues requiring resolution. Although it is not an essential requirement, members do take on-going leading roles in managing and developing specific areas of activity such as retail, towpath maintenance and the trip boats and their crew training. Current opportunities are advertised at

 We are also seeking volunteers to work as Trustees on our Trust Board

The Trust is responsible for setting the strategy and long term planning of the Canal Trust and monitors the activity and finances of the Trading Company.
This is responsible work with satisfaction to be gained from achieving set objectives and providing a quality service that is valued by local residents and visitors. Activity is largely undertaken Monday to Friday daytime.

Canal Cafe

Do you enjoy meeting people? Then come and join our happy band of volunteers in the Canal Cafe. Hours can be arranged to suit you in return for a smile and a warm welcome to our growing number of customers. You will be able to enjoy a stunning view of the canal and free tea or coffee while you work. Work includes serving refreshments, taking bookings for boat trips & rowing boats. No previous retail experience is required as you will work with others who will be happy to lend a hand.

Boat Cabin Crew

Ladies in red aboard canal boat Richmond
Looking for a unique volunteering experience? Then join us as cabin crew members. Our charter boat takes groups for a leisurely 2 hour trip down the canal. Some trips are catered, others not. The essentials are a big smile, a warm welcome to our passengers and a moderate level of fitness as some lifting is required. In return you will be rewarded with delighted passengers, many laughs along the way, and a free trip down the canal. Volunteers must be over 18 (as we serve alcohol); male or female.

Boat Skippers and mates

Both our trip boats, Richmond and Kingfisher require a Skipper and a Mate each time they go out on a trip. Kingfisher runs regular trips 4 times a day every day whilst Richmond mainly runs charter trips for groups. Training is available for both of these roles including MCA Boat Masters licence.

Canal Working Party



The Trust is responsible for the upkeep of 3 miles of canal & towpath, the Canal Basin, and surrounding trees and bushes. The working party meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays and our work is seasonal – canal weeding, grass cutting, towpath repairs, tree pruning, gardening, painting and much more.
We are fortunate to have the use of a tug boat, 2 barges, a flat top work boat, 2 diggers and assorted cutters. We work in teams, are safety conscious, yet informal, achieving a lot within a friendly group. When you join us you start with an experienced person so you can ease yourself into our ways of working.

Volunteer Working Party

Maintenance and Engineering

From hull engineers to shipwrights, electricians, painters, general maintenance …all have a role to play helping us to keep our trip boats, tug boats and buildings operating.

Trust membership

We ask all volunteers to be members of the Chichester Canal Trust.

Membership Application Form

Alternatively pop down to the Canal Centre and have a chat with any of our Volunteers (inside or outside) or if you have a question email