From the Exec

This month’s news from the Executive is somewhat money oriented. We make no apology for that because, without continuing and regular income from many sources, our work would very quickly grind to a halt. None of us wants that to happen.

Our ongoing fundraising is in good shape with grants totalling £30,000 received from the Steel Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation in the past month. As you are probably already aware, this vital fundraising work is being undertaken by Marsha Miles Consultancy. Having learnt the ropes about working with WBCT this company has become increasingly effective and is now working with Branch chairmen to find money for their local projects. A good recent example was a grant for nearly £10,000 for the purchase of a welfare unit for MCC branch at Pewsham. It was a matter of only days between the arrival of the money from Awards for All and the delivery of the welfare unit at our Pewsham site. Here’s a picture, even the colour as purchased is right.

welfare unit

The Executive has started a programme called Loans to Donations (L2D). We are inviting over 100 WBCT members and well-wishers, who generously provided the funds for the 2014 purchase of the Peterborough Arms, to convert their loans to donations to the Trust. We have had a very positive response to this initiative, which is being carried out in weekly stages until December, with none of these kind individuals declining to help us boost the funds available for our core activities.

Two further fundraising initiatives are under way. The first is a project to encourage members and the general public to consider leaving a legacy to the Trust in their wills. This is common practice in many other charities and is very successful but has not been implemented before at WBCT. The second initiative, currently being planned, is to enable the employees of major companies to make regular donations to the Trust by deductions from their salary payments.

On 12th October our CEO issued a stop work instruction to all members, pending advice on how to respond to an unexpected development in our work with HSE to enable restoration to restart at Pewsham Top Lock. Having received satisfactory advice, the CEO lifted his stop work instruction on 15th October.

Back to Business (B2B)

B2B is restarting two key programmes, Semington to Pewsham and Templars Firs to Hay Lane. We have set up two steering committees to coordinate the clean shoes work we need to do now so that physical progress on the ground can be made in 2022.

The Semington to Pewsham task is being steered by Dave Maloney, Paul Lenaerts, Jon Coates, Peter Wilkinson and Max Crofts. The Templars Firs to Hay Lane work is being steered by Steve Bacon, Alex Hutchings and Mark Wightman.

The Semington-Pewsham team organised a public consultation with Semington residents on 29th October, this was very effective in transmitting the message that the Trust is once again on the march. The Templars Firs-Hay Lane team has collaborated well with Wiltshire Council on the repair and upgrade work needed to make the towpath at Harris Crofts Farm suitable for walkers and cyclists during the wet winter months. The task is relatively straightforward and we may do it using our own workforce once we obtain a licence to work on the landowner’s property.

The next step will be the start of a dialogue with the Harris Crofts landowner to secure the land required to enable restoration of the canal between the Templars Firs section and Morningside Farm. Also on this section, the Engineering Team is deep in thought about more economical ways of restoring Chaddington Lane bridge which might not need the expense of a temporary diversion whilst the new bridge is constructed.