Volunteers Steve Chalmers and Julia Simpson approach local clubs to raise awareness of the Canal
In our work in linking in with all the users of the Canal we decided to approach as many of the local clubs and societies along the Canal to make them aware of the Canal and ask how they would like to get involved, be it though membership, donations or perhaps just linking up on Social Media. Our volunteer colleagues Steve Chalmers and Julia Simpson took up this challenge and have had fantastic success.
Steve’s first task was to put together a database of these clubs and to date we now have over 380, all of which are based in the area which the Canal flows through. These include 25 photographic clubs, 34 Walking & Running clubs, 17 Rotary and Lions clubs and many more from all walks of life, which together would have over 10,000 members. Since April, Steve and his colleague Julia have been working their way through these via emails and follow ups with the message that the canal needs their help as with Council budgets stretched it is important that the Community helps with protect this wonderful local amenity. We have been encouraging these clubs and societies to join as group members, offered talks to their meetings, links to our websites, made a request for donations for our projects and asked them to promote the Canal to their members.
Since April use of the Canal has gone up threefold and we are now seeing results in more members joining the Society and greater awareness being created through posts in local magazines and press. We have made good contacts with around a dozen clubs joining so far but there is lots more work to do, particularly in the area of social media – in the meantime through our work in linking up 47 local Facebook Community Groups there is now an extended group of over 50,000 total members.
When things eventually return to normal we will use our contacts to promote our boat trips, working parties and other events along the Canal. With other members working behind the scenes we will “Keep the Canal Alive”.
Below is a story by the Rotary Club of Rushmoor who have kindly donated £500 to our Information Board Project.
Just a final question: is your club doing its bit to help the Canal? If not just contact Steve on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rotary Club of Rushmoor
Members of the Rotary Club of Rushmoor have enjoyed the Canal for years for both personal exercise and other group activities.
Moreover, as a Club, we have taken advantage of the Canal to help the wider community. Since 2001 we have hired the Accessible Boating vessel – Dawn – to take disadvantaged groups for a boating experience. From a few trips each year we now run over a dozen (pre Covid days) for people with disabilities and those whose age hampers their mobility.
We take up to 10 people on each trip from the Odiham Wharf late in the morning and make our way towards the Barley Mow Bridge with a stop for lunch (and sometimes a visit to the pub) before a return in the early afternoon.
Club members act as the crew and have also developed skills as guides pointing out features with an ever watchful eye for heron and kingfishers!
The response from our guests is always positive – for some it is a rare chance to enjoy fresh air and different scenery!
We are happy to support the Information Boards Project – it can only add to the enjoyment of all Canal users.
Owen, Rotary Club of Rushmoor