Executive Committee Summary - Dec 2020

Our monthly Executive virtual meetings continue, and are likely to stay virtual PC (Post Covid), to the satisfaction of those members whose round trip was 150 miles or more.  In December the remaining problems we had in collecting Gift Aid were finally resolved, so the Trust's bank account is now some £8,000 healthier.  This, together with Vic Miller’s extraordinarily generous legacy, the receipt of a further £20,000 from the Underwood Trust and the Highways England funding, puts the Trust in a healthy position – now we need to see how best to spend it on restoration!  The costs of this will soon outstrip what we have, so the Trustees have agreed to the recruitment of a paid fundraiser. His/her salary will be a small part of the new funds being raised so the post will not add to the Trust's core costs.

Much activity continues concerning planning issues, and Tessa Lanstein has created a ‘spade ready’ spreadsheet of all projects – believe it or not, some 40 of them - whether spade ready or not, so that as much preparatory background work as possible can be done before Covid restrictions allow spades to hit the ground – some work has already started at Pewsham.

An offshoot of the Exec is PIG – the Performance Improvement Group, which is a think tank that meets weekly to brainstorm ideas and put them into practice.  PIG has spawned SIG – Signage Improvement Group – and WAG – Water Acquisition Group.  SIG, fairly obviously, is reviewing all the signs we have with a view to replacing old or out of date ones (most of them) and adding new signs in as many places as possible.  WAG is a small group that is working on defining exactly what the restored canal’s requirement for water is, then engaging at high level to persuade the Environment Agency to take a more strategic view than hitherto to allow us the water we need, and to persuade them that this can be done in ways that could be of mutual benefit, for example to do with flood prevention.  Robert Buckland MP has agreed to assist us on this.

Chris Barry