Dig Deep is a consortium of independent canal groups who act together to enable canal societies to optimise the work of volunteer canal restorers. There are currently five groups participating in the Dig Deep Initiative, they are:
Kent & East Sussex Canal Restoration Group (KESCRG)
NWPG Canal Restoration
London Waterway Recovery Group
Waterway Recovery Group BITM ("Bit in the middle")
Dig Deep groups take a joint approach to the initial selection of projects before committing to a programme of work which is agreed with the local canal society. As work proceeds, regular contact between the groups and the local society achieves a good standard of work. This co-operative approach also makes effective use of the range of skills and experience across all the groups.
The Dig Deep concept has produced many benefits for the participating groups, including a varied programme of work and regular visits to the same sites. This has helped to retain existing volunteers and attract new ones. Good working relationships have developed with local groups; leading to better understanding of specifications and standards for the tasks involved, and producing a better finished product.
Typically, the selected projects are for a one or two year period, with each group committing about three weekends each year. Together with week-long work camps, this gives the local society a substantial guaranteed amount of labour which is a considerable help in the overall strategy for restoring the canal.
There are several examples where Dig Deepís commitment has played a vital part in securing external funding for a project.
As well participating in Dig Deep, each volunteer group runs weekends on other sites to gain experience and to widen the variety of locations for its members. Dig Deep groups also attend a number of canal festivals across the country.