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Thread: British Canoeing Access & Environment Workshops

  1. Default British Canoeing Access & Environment Workshops

    Within British Canoeing's Waterways & Environment department we are looking to hold a series of events across the country to engage directly with paddlers on our team's core objectives: securing access to & facilities on our waterways and helping paddlers contribute to environment projects.


    We'd like these events to represent a two-way engagement, giving us a chance to tell local paddlers what we are doing in their area, and getting feedback and ideas we can use to form our next steps. Because of this it's vital we make the events as engaging for paddlers as possible - so please do let us know how we can do this. We are especially looking for ideas regarding:
    - Where and when would be suitable for an event in your region
    - The topics you'd like to see discussed
    - Any other organisations we can involve to talk directly to paddlers


    My email is chris.page@britishcanoeing.org.uk, which you can use for any related query.


    Thanks,


    Chris Page, Waterways & Environment Manager (Central England)

  2. #2
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    Hi Chris,

    Good to see you trying to get paddlers' engagement.

    Personal opinions;

    Timings

    If a workshop could be tagged onto an already happening event, e.g. paddle festival, shop open day, big meet etc, you should find more people come along. Otherwise don't pick weekends when people are likely to be away with family etc, i.e. holiday periods. For many of us the ideal might be an evening mid-week, but this would only work for small local meetings, as there isn't time for the travel, and therefore you're probably stuck with weekends. Work with a shop, who might gain also from sharing the publicity workload, and might take the opportunity to have a special offer event or something and effectively sponsor the event.

    Topics

    Access
    To hear about what BC is doing to actively improve the situation. To confirm that BC is not pursuing local access agreements which attempt to restrict paddlers unreasonably. To work together under the knowledge that we have a PRN, NOT that we're trying to GAIN access. To discuss how we can work with local interest to gain better access points, and how this can put something back into the local community, be it through additional visits or whatever.

    Environment.
    To discuss how the paddling community can pull together on environmental issues more cohesively. Perhaps a national waterway clear up event, which would help highlight the fact that lots of us do run local clear ups, but they don't get much publicity. If we all did it on the same weekend, it could make national news and would show the paddling community in a good light.
    To reinforce the risk of spreading invasive species and to understand clearly what the risks are - I think many are aware of some risk now, but doubt many of us are actually as careful as we might be. Saying this, I'd also like to understand what the percentage of invasive species spread could actually be attributed to canoeing & boating, compared with what might happen "naturally" (bird/wildlife movement etc).


    The OCA is starting to gain some momentum once again, you may wish to contact them.
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

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    This link is to a forerunner of the above meetings, we need to work together so this is a positive move.

    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...Access-Seminar
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Access
    To hear about what BC is doing to actively improve the situation. To confirm that BC is not pursuing local access agreements which attempt to restrict paddlers unreasonably. To work together under the knowledge that we have a PRN, NOT that we're trying to GAIN access. To discuss how we can work with local interest to gain better access points, and how this can put something back into the local community, be it through additional visits or whatever.

    ThanksMal - getting the best time for the most people is always going to be tricky! Hopefully these events will give us a good way of beginning the process of engaging more with paddlers. But they shouldn't be seen as the only way. It's tricky logistically to hold, for example, one meeting per county or river - especially until we see what the take up is. But as these become more embedded hopefully they'll help us see where we need to target action. Also, if any groups of paddlers, clubs etc are holding their own events and would like us to attend to cover these topics please let us know! Where possible we'll try and get someone from the team over to you, or work with you to get a date that works.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Access
    To hear about what BC is doing to actively improve the situation. To confirm that BC is not pursuing local access agreements which attempt to restrict paddlers unreasonably. To work together under the knowledge that we have a PRN, NOT that we're trying to GAIN access. To discuss how we can work with local interest to gain better access points, and how this can put something back into the local community, be it through additional visits or whatever.
    Thanks for these points - the issue of getting better access points to our waterways is something local paddlers are instrumental in. Looking at how we can show this can benefit the river itself and the community are ideas we are working up too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Environment.
    To discuss how the paddling community can pull together on environmental issues more cohesively. Perhaps a national waterway clear up event, which would help highlight the fact that lots of us do run local clear ups, but they don't get much publicity. If we all did it on the same weekend, it could make national news and would show the paddling community in a good light.
    To reinforce the risk of spreading invasive species and to understand clearly what the risks are - I think many are aware of some risk now, but doubt many of us are actually as careful as we might be. Saying this, I'd also like to understand what the percentage of invasive species spread could actually be attributed to canoeing & boating, compared with what might happen "naturally" (bird/wildlife movement etc).
    Again, these are just the ideas we want to discuss. We are looking at ideas for how we can promote paddlers getting involved in World Rivers Day - maybe some of your ideas here would work in regards to this?
    Last edited by BC Waterways&Environment; 19th-May-2015 at 11:04 AM. Reason: Formatting

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    Who exactly are "British Canoeing"?
    This post may vanish at any moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DougR View Post
    Who exactly are "British Canoeing"?
    From what I can gather 'British Canoe Union', 'Canoe England', 'British Canoeing' and 'GB Canoeing' appear to be used indescriminately, even in the same document. Good luck making sense of it.
    Happy paddling ,
    Rob.


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    British Canoeing is the new name for the British Canoe Union

    Canoe England never really existed as a 'body corporate' it was just a name used for the canoeing NGB in England so that there was a vehicle for monies from Sport England who, at the time, would not grant money to a British NGB when it was to be targeted at a National sport.

    GB Canoeing is the organisation around the Olympic disciplines of slalom and sprint. If you look at their website you will see they are very well funded with a substantial staff. I think it is also referred to as 'World Class'. Interestingly the operation seems to be completely separate from the BCU (or BC).

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    Only just seen this. More power to your elbow Chris, I'm sure we all appreciate an involvement. I would be keen to attend any workshops in my area, AKA the one held early in the year in Lancashire. Please make sure that you trail them with sufficient lead time for people to pick up the information and circulate it to others who may not have seen it. You'll never get a time or place that pleases all of the people all of the time so just go for it!
    Mike

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    I'd echo what Mal said overall.
    Clearly I'm remote from all this stuff but I'd say that the active move towards true engagement must be welcomed and more importantly, actively supported.
    All the best with this Chris.
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Canoe outfitting packages in the Massif Central


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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    British Canoeing is the new name for the British Canoe Union
    Does it cover Scotland and Wales, which are part of Britain?

    "I stepped up on the platform. The man gave me the news. He said - you must be joking, son, where did you get those shoes?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    Does it cover Scotland and Wales, which are part of Britain?
    If you're within the UK but outside of England your "Membership Body" has long been - and as far as I know is destined to continue to be - one from The Scottish Canoe Association, Canoe Wales and the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland. Other canoeists and kayakers within the UK (actually the overwhelming majority of members) never had a devolved and independent "Membership Body"... so such functions were administered through the "English Council" - a Committee which is again, as far as I know, destined to continue despite all of the re-branding.

    Beneath all of that you've got Regional Development Teams (of volunteers) and Discipline Specific Groups and so on... and somewhere in the mix you've got BCU North America, and presumably some means of providing Membership Body services to those who aren't within the UK or North America - though to the best of my knowledge, that's all fairly small-scale.

    Getting back on track: each "Membership Body" contributes board members to a central body for UK-wide purposes... and that's historically been (and will continue to be) the BCU - which has in the past also operated a semi-autonomous "division" called "GB Canoeing" - which performed functions which are not going to be disappearing.

    Separate from ALL of that you've got BCU Awarding... and the Canoe Foundation... and doubtless lots more... and within all of this you've got things like the "World Class Management Group"... and the English Coaching Management Committee... and (getting right back to the people in question) the Waterways and Environment Operations Group - which we're told "is responsible for the strategic planning, policies, guidance, and implementations for access and the environment in England."

    Crucially, SOME of the way all of the above has been run in the past IS being restructured. Mike Devlin (Director of Coaching) talked a group of us through a fair bit of the transformation earlier in the year. The bits we got to hear about appeared to make sense - but you're spot on: we're going to be left with "British Canoeing" meaning one thing in England and quite another in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland!

    Getting right back to basics though... one sign that the changes are not merely cosmetic is Chris Page appearing here on Song-of-the-Paddle. This would NEVER have been sanctioned in the past! Let's hope this is a sign of good things to come - and that whoever succeeds Paul Owen as CEO continues with this all-new policy of engagement through online communities, social media and so on.
    Last edited by GregandGinaS; 12th-June-2015 at 12:43 PM.

  12. #12
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    Hi Chris

    I agree with everything Mal said (first response). To answer your questions:

    - Where and when would be suitable for an event in your region
    Within say 50 miles of Exeter and at weekends for me personally. The Exeter canal could do with some litter picking and I'd be more than happy to muck in collecting litter, clipping bushes or planting trees, etc.

    - The topics you'd like to see discussed
    How we can help protect our environment and the right for everyone to enjoy it.

    - Any other organisations we can involve to talk directly to paddlers
    Sorry, I'm not an "organisations" man. I'm just a simple paddler.

  13. Default

    Thanks for the positive feedback over the past couple of days on the thread. We are taking all of it down! The point that we can't please everyone all the time maybe valid for an individual event, but we hope that by using a range of engagement methods, from workshops, to the forums and beyond, we can enable as many as possible to contribute. Please do give us any ideas how we can continue to build upon that too.

    I'll also add that though the posts so far have been from me (Chris!), we are on the forums as the Waterways & Environment team, so also representing Kevin East and Richard Atkinson too. We know our area of British Canoeing's activities is very important to recreational paddlers especially. The nature of the things we are working on do move very slowly, but we want to communicate more effectively regarding our activities and show paddlers that we are advocating very strongly for them.

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