Sunday, May 08, 2011

Crunch time for the K&A Canal Trust

Terminating the troubled Kennet & Avon Canal Trust and handing over its resources to the new waterway charity that will replace BW may be the most rational answer according to its governing body in a consultation document it has sent to members.

The financial and leadership crisis at the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust and falling membership together with the admission by the Trust Chairman that the Trust now does little to benefit the canal but instead puts most of its energies into simply 'sustaining' itself has led its governing council to ask members to help to decide the future of the Trust.

A letter along with a five-page survey has been sent out to all members asking for their opinion on whether the Trust should continue as it is now, limit its activities or shut up shop — which it describes as 'the most rational answer'.

The 'choices' offered to members along with the Trust Council's comments on them are:

Option One: 
Stay as we are, operate the K&A Trust as a separate organisation, much as we have in the past
*If we stay as we are we risk finding ourselves with confusion and in competition with the new organisation with a big impact on fundraising, volunteering and much else that we do.
Option Two: 
Limit our operation to activities such as running trip boats, the pumping stations, museum and archive and become a heritage keeper for the canal, whilst withdrawing from towpath works and clearing etc and leave this to BW (The New Waterways Charity) and their volunteers
*Many believe this is what we do best, but it does mean we abandon several of our traditional activities eg towpath works and clearing
Option 3: 
Become part of the New Waterways Charity once it is up and running, terminating the Trust and handing over its resources to the new charity
* This may be the most rational answer, but would mean the end of the Trust in its historic form.
Consultation meetings 
Trust Council will be holding meetings along the canal where they say: "We can listen to your views and opinions and hope to be able to answer any queries you may have about the changes to British Waterways/The New Waterways Charity and the impact these are having on the K&A Trust."

The meetings will be at:
Newbury: The Stone Building, Newbury Wharf, Thursday 12th May 6-8pm

Devizes: The Wharf Building, Monday 16th May 6-8pm

Bradford on Avon: The United Church, St Margaret's Street, Tuesday 17th May 6-8pm

The results of this survey and the consultation meetings will be available to members at the AGM – Saturday 11th June, 11am at the Devizes Wharf.
Recent related stories:
Trust does little for canal admits K&A Canal Trust Chairman

1 comment:

  1. Three choices?

    One and two are essentially the same. Save for a few stalwart volunteers who carry out volunteer work, despite, and not because of, the K&A Trust there is virtually nothing done by the Trust other than the trip boats and the pumping stations, all of which really have nothing to do with looking after the canal.

    These activities are great fun for those involved but they don't do anything for the canal.

    Since the trip-boats are operated by Enterprise to raise money for the Trust's activities on the canal - if the Trust withdraws from support work for the canal then the boats purpose serve no purpose. It is said, and hard to argue otherwise, that Enterprise now exists only to pay the wages of the staff of Enterprise.

    Enterprise was not set up as a job creation scheme and should be wound up immediately. There was a rumour doing the rounds recently (and hope it isn't true) that funds at the Trust were so low that members subscription money was being used to pay the wages of the staff of Enterprise. I pay my subscription and I hope the Trustees will use it wisely.

    Consultation with the membership is an admirable thing - but the cost of the paper, photocopying, the A5 envelope and First Class stamp sending out the survey and letter must have been huge. I would guess well over a thousand pounds.

    Could the small amount of information on the sheets of paper been condensed down to both sides of a single sheet of A4 and been sent out with The Butty.

    Finally, will the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust board of Trustees actually take any notice of the responses from the members or will it just do whatever it was going to do anyway.

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