The volunteers put fresh mortar between the bricks. Photograph: courtesy VCH

A group of local residents last week began repairing the historic Three Colts Bridge close to Victoria Park – as part of an event to mark Volunteers’ Week.

The bridge, built in 1830 over the Hertford Union Canal, is at risk of losing its Grade II*-listed status.

So, on 1 June, a band of locals organised by Volunteer Centre Hackney (VCH) set about restoring it to its former glory, with help from the Canal & River Trust (CRT).

They started by removing the old mortar using hammers and chisels, before adding freshly mixed lime mortar in a process known as pointing.

According to CRT, the new mortar should last for at least 50 years.

The group is trying to prevent the bridge losing its listed status. Photograph: courtesy VCH

The volunteers also jumped into canoes for a floating litter pick.

Two of them, Zulekha Akhoon and Fawzia Mohabeer, said: “We have never done anything like kayaking before. We received a really warm welcome and had a really nice time. We would definitely volunteer again.”

The event marked the start of the annual Volunteers’ Week, which raises awareness of the impact of volunteers across the UK.

VCH chief Lauren Tobias was in attendance to thank those taking part and encourage them to get their friends involved in volunteering.

She said: “You will meet new people, make new friends, and learn to do new things. Volunteers enrich communities: establishing groups, sharing expertise and experience.

“We all benefit from volunteering! So why not make Volunteers Week the time to give it a go?”

Lauren Tobias joins volunteers for the floating litter pick. Photograph: courtesy VCH

Volunteers are needed now more than ever to help organisations supporting residents across the borough.

Since the start of the pandemic, VCH has provided over 1,000 vaccination centre stewards and trained 268 community supporters in offering friendship to people who are socially isolated.

If you’re interested in volunteering, find out more at vchackney.org.