This is the third year of holding a conference in the capital as it was felt important to position the organisation as a key stakeholder within the Waterways and be accessable to other major stakeholders and political allies.
The setting of the Union Jack club put us within striking distance of Westminster and the River Thames and its magnificent interior evoked images of a bygone age of British spirit. The photographs and models reminding me of the sacrifice of our countrymen but the group coming through the door showing that sacrifice was still being met by our current generation.
The day was filled with a range of speakers with projects speaking of how they were meeting current needs of the community –“respite care for Armed Services” to “Partnership working” to the key topic of “sustainability”. These presentations were complemented by Alun Michael M.P. (Chair of the All Parliamentary Waterways Group) and John Bridgeman (Vice chair of British Waterways Board and transitional trustee of Canal and River Trust). We were able to demonstrate how the work of Community Boat Organisations bring so much value and benefit to individuals but should be a valuable and valued partner to the emerging Trust.
It raised questions of “are we remote from the membership?’ - “you are doing so much but you don’t tell members” but brought an enthusaiasm from the floor for individual projects to work closer together, share knowledge and resources.
I spoke later with John who commented “ You are doing a fantastic job – its not about the boat it’s what you do with that boat. It’s about people.”
|At the End of the Conference Day London NCBA