The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal: Chair, Vice Chair, Publicity/PR Officer and Volunteer Coordinator

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal are looking for four new officers to join our committee in a volunteer role. Our Chair for the last 5 years is stepping down soon and we are looking for a new Chair, a Vice Chair, a Publicity/PR Officer and a Volunteer Coordinator.

What difference will you make?

These are crucial roles for developing our strategic plans under the waterway’s important new designation as a Heritage Harbour. We are currently instigating the development of a road map for a new vision for Exeter Ship Canal. This includes the restoration of historic vessels and the return of commercial usage as well as enhanced community and volunteer involvement. Your contribution and commitment will ensure the organisation thrives and expands. Our radical revival programme for the canal, titled Making The Canal Matter Again can be seen here:


The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal are an independent, voluntary group that works for the Canal’s future for everyone to enjoy. We want to see a 21st century revival of the use of the waterway and basin with more boats, a thriving boatyard and an attractive, active harbour. Our aims are to preserve and maintain the Canal’s 450-year-old maritime heritage and protect its waterside buildings; organise outdoor work parties that help keep the canal and paths clear and pleasant for users and wildlife; and arrange events and talks so people can discover the waterway’s beauty and history. Please have a look at our website for further information:

The Canal Friends recently achieved the designation of Heritage Harbour for the Canal and Basin as integral parts of the Port of Exeter, which extends to the Exe Estuary and the sea. To find out more, follow the link:



The roles are Exeter based. Like other organisations, we are operating virtually at the moment and the ability to attend virtual meetings is a requirement. Ideally you will have a connection with the local area and familiarity with the canal and waterways.

Time commitment?

As with most positions in an active voluntary group, the time commitment varies as activities and activists come and go. For the chair and vice chair an estimate is up to 3 hours a week on average; less overall for the publicity/PR officer and volunteer coordinator.

Who are we looking for?

The Chair and Vice Chair will:

  • Provide leadership and direction for the Canal Friends in pursuing their aims.

  • Facilitate the Friends’ Committee in stimulating well-rounded and carefully considered ideas, discussion, and operational and strategic decision-making.

In detail

  • Chair committee and members’ meetings, review agendas and minutes

  • Initiate and monitor implementation and progress of activities and campaigns

  • Represent the Friends in meetings with local authorities and other bodies

  • Find suitable candidates to fill vacancies on the committee

  • Write or approve key documents and newsletters

  • Liaise with organisations that the Canal Friends are affiliated to


The Volunteer Co-ordinator will:

  • Build up and maintain a body of volunteers to undertake volunteer work parties

  • Develop and maintain a good relationship with the canal management team and agree suitable programmes of work for the volunteers

  • Lead and coordinate volunteer work parties

  • Build up and maintain in good order equipment for use by the volunteers

  • Comply with all relevant health and safety requirements; prepare risk assessments as necessary and ensure they are observed; establish and maintain appropriate safety and emergency procedures; maintain a log of work parties undertaken, volunteers involved, and hours worked

  • Assist in publicising the work parties

The Publicity/PR Officer will:

  • Prepare and update a publicity/PR strategy for the Friends

  • Write and distribute press and other media releases locally and regionally, and to the waterways’ media

  • Write and distribute ‘on spec’ articles and stories

  • Assist in writing and producing members’ newsletters and other material


Essential requirements in all cases:

  • Commitment to the Friends’ objectives, aims, values and a willingness to devote time to carry out responsibilities

  • Strategic and forward-looking vision in relation to the Friends objectives and aims

  • Specific skills and abilities to match role and responsibilities

  • Leadership skills, generally as officers of the committee; the ability to influence, motivate and enhance effectively the performance of a voluntary organisation and its members in achieving the organisations aims and objectives

  • Good communication and interpersonal skills; readiness to work jointly and co-operatively

  • Confidence in dealing with organisations and individuals outside as well as inside the organisation, balancing tact and diplomacy with willingness to challenge and criticise constructively

  • Respect the confidences of colleagues


What's in it for the volunteer?

In any of these roles, you will have the opportunity to lead and become a key player of an active community led organisation. You will be part of a wide waterway’s community, including other like-minded organisations and will have vast opportunities for networking at many different levels. You will have the satisfaction of shaping and advancing plans that will make a real difference to Exeter Ship Canal, the wider Port, and the city itself.

A few more details

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal are particularly keen to ensure that our organisation is broad and inclusive in its membership; that it is fully representative of the community in which we operate, and at the current time we would warmly welcome applications from people with a diverse range of backgrounds, ethnicity, sex, culture and physical ability.


Please send your application to the Secretary, Mick Green:  Closing date for applications 23 April 2021

Include your CV and a covering letter, in which you explain:

  • The role or roles you are interested in.

  • Why are interested.

  • How your skills and experience would contribute to the Friends’ aims and objectives.

  • How you meet the essential requirements of the role.

Informal Chat

If you would like further information or an informal chat about the Canal Friends and the roles available, please drop the outgoing Chair, John Monks a line at: or give him a call on: 01392 493559.