The Towpath Talk Guide to Community Boating

Towpath Talk September 2014We now have a regular feature in Towpath Talk, the free waterways newspaper. National Community Boats Association chairman Derek Stansfield is contributing a regular column, featuring community boating news, member organisations, details of upcoming training courses and brief profiles of individual trustees.

In July’s edition Derek wrote a roundup of different news stories related to community boating around the UK. A young volunteer working with Swinton Lock Activity Centre (an accredited training centre of the NCBA) had received an award for his outstanding contribution to people and communities in Rotherham. He also reported on a meeting he’d had with CRT and Bob Ratcliffe (NCBA senior trainer, trustee and administrator.) Each organisation discussed their aims and objectives, plus issues that affect both parties such as boat licencing and volunteering.

In the August issue Derek began his series of featuring individual community boating projects, and started off with a piece about DART. Gloucestershire-based Disabled Afloat Riverboats Trust offers residential holidays to individuals with disabilities and is to work more closely with the Bruce Trust on the Kennet and Avon. They’ve discovered there’s a real need for a provision of boating holidays for individuals who are looking for a holiday with a ‘family’ feel to it.

Derek is also running a series of short biographies introducing the NCBA Trustee Board. First up was senior trainer and moderator Bob Ratcliffe, one of the longest serving and most experienced members of the NCBA. Bob has been an Instructor of Outdoor Education for over 25 years with 15 years on narrowboats. In addition to his NCBA qualifications he is also a Boatmaster licence holder with the MCA. In September’s issue (pictured) Derek introduces Patrick Titman, a retired civil engineer with many years professional experience of maritime works, of delivering training and of quality management. He is attached to Accessible Boating on the Basingstoke Canal.

Also in September’s issue Derek focusses on the Skipton and Craven Action for Disability project. SCAD Transport was set up to provide an efficient, safe and reasonably priced transport system for people in and around the local area who have a disability and are unable to use public transport. Their purpose-built 53ft canal boat Endeavour is wheelchair accessible and can carry groups of up to 12 people. SCAD is also an accredited NCBA training centre. Each month Derek shares the latest dates for upcoming trainers courses around the UK. Contact us for more details.

These monthly articles give an interesting insight into what the NCBA is all about so look out for the next community boating update in October’s Towpath Talk (out this week!). I get mine delivered but you can also read Towpath Talk online.

Featured image credit: Towpath Talk Facebook page.

If you’re interested in canal boats why not volunteer with your local community canal boating project? If you want to improve your boating skills you could consider taking an NCBA training course.

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