Saturday, 9 November 2013

The wind of change

I hope that everyone has read the communique from Richard Parry the CEO of CaRT on Narrowboat World.  Click Here  There is an old saying 'it's an ill wind that blows anyone no good'. Yet, it would seem that the wind of change is bringing a breath of fresh air to the corridors of Ivory Towers.

Its a pretty mind blowing and significant change of direction from the 'secret society' to the beginnings of real transparency. I realise that it's only the one message, but that in itself demonstrates that a significant change of direction is in the offing. There is one subject missing that I had hoped to find in the bullet points. That subject was the formation of a paid membership of the Trust.

So what do we do as boaters. 

Well I for one will welcome and embrace the change and take advantage of the new ethos. I will still continue to campaign for a paid membership of the charity. Because until that happens there will still be a two tier system. It comes from a natural scepticism of rhetoric and a reliance on being recognised as a something more than a friend of the trust. But as a member and an equal in standing.

The National Trust has four million paying members, who provide not only money in the subscription charge (£55.50) which provides over 200 million pounds in revenue. Also the members give thousands of volunteering days. The RSPB has 1,095,015 members paying a subscription of (£36) which is just under 40 million pounds. Plus over 195,000 youth members. All in addition to the invaluable support of almost 18,000 regular volunteers.
One of the worst decisions made during the transition from quango to charity was to oppose the formation of a paid membership. It makes no financial sense whatsoever for the Trust to fail to develop a paid membership. A membership that can include walkers, fishermen, cyclists, conservationists, environmentalists, historians, boaters and many other people who value and use the waterways.

I am now looking forward to a much more positive experience when dealing with the trust in future. I met Richard Parry when he paid a visit to the marina. I wrote about it at the time. Click Here I am pleased that some of what I wrote has come about.

'I am however, anticipating a seed change as a fresh perspective is brought to the senior management role and with that the inland waterways. When the positives arrive, I will shout them from the roof top. I could never be a member of the Tony Hales fan club. As far as I am concerned, that remains as just another space primed to be filled. But I could certainly be a Richard Parry groupie.'

So it looks like I might need to get my ladder out sometime soon.

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