Sur­rey Care Trust Boat Vol­un­teers chair­man David Al­dous

Canal Boat - - Contents -

We in­ter­veiw David Al­dous from the award-win­ning Sur­rey Care Trust, whose com­mu­nity boats do so much for the county’s dis­ad­van­taged

1 What does the Queen’s Award for Vol­un­tary Ser­vice rep­re­sent to Sur­rey Care Trust? It is a pres­ti­gious award which gives well-de­served recog­ni­tion of every­one in­volved in the pro­gramme who, in many cases, has worked tire­lessly to im­prove lo­cal peo­ple’s lives for many years. 2 How many vol­un­teers take part? There are 68 ac­tive vol­un­teers aged be­tween 35 to 80. 3 Where do your vol­un­teers come from? From Tan­dridge in the east of the county to Waver­ley in the west. 4 What’s the char­ity’s driv­ing force? We want Sur­rey to be a place where the vul­ner­a­ble and so­cially ex­cluded are not held back by lack of op­por­tu­nity. We aim to in­spire peo­ple to make pos­i­tive changes that will last a life­time by bridg­ing the gaps in skills, learn­ing and one to one sup­port. 5 Which canals and wa­ter­ways do you cruise? The River Wey Nav­i­ga­tion and The Thames and oc­ca­sion­ally the Bas­ingstoke Canal. 6 What does your fleet com­prise? Swing­bridge1, a 40ft broad­beam boat with an all-weather canopy, of­fers train­ing and trips. It is equipped with a galley, a toi­let and a wheel­chair lift. Swing­bridge2 is a broad­beam work­boat and is our base for our con­ser­va­tion vol­un­teer­ing and train­ing. Our boats are ac­cred­ited as a train­ing cen­tre by the Na­tional Com­mu­nity Boats As­so­ci­a­tion. 7 How was the trust founded

Sur­rey Care Trust has a long track record of ser­vice to the com­mu­nity and has been pro­vid­ing ex­pert sup­port to some of the most dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple in Sur­rey since 1982 when we were among a num­ber of lo­cal care trusts with gen­eral char­i­ta­ble aims set up around the coun­try. The found­ing aims of Sur­rey Care Trust, to help peo­ple who are the most dis­ad­van­taged, still mo­ti­vate our sup­port­ers, vol­un­teers and staff to­day. 8 So it’s true, wa­ter­ways are great for well­be­ing? Many stud­ies have shown that be­ing out­side can ease anx­i­ety, fight de­pres­sion, and lower blood pres­sure. One of our sup­ported vol­un­teers Kevin cred­its his time on Swing­bridge2 with aid­ing his re­cov­ery from his brain in­jury and low­er­ing his risk of a seizure. 9 How is the project re­ceived by the com­mu­nity? Swing­bridge1 is fully ac­ces­si­ble so it en­ables many older or dis­abled peo­ple to en­joy a re­lax­ing trip on the river who may oth­er­wise not be able to which is very much ap­pre­ci­ated by our pas­sen­gers. (Last year we of­fered al­most 100 two-hour trips). We’ve also had a lot of praise from lo­cal ri­par­ian com­mu­ni­ties who can see the pos­i­tive im­prove­ments by our Swing­bridge2 vol­un­teers. 10 What’s en­vi­roboat? the role of your Our en­vi­roboat, Swing­bridge2, is the base for train­ing and vol­un­teer­ing in en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion. Trained vol­un­teer crew work with our sup­ported vol­un­teers who may be un­em­ployed or poorly-qual­i­fied, have mild learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties or men­tal health prob­lems, or who may be re­cov­er­ing from ad­dic­tions. Our crew also work with of­fend­ers car­ry­ing out com­mu­nity pay­back. They make a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment and learn new skills. 11 How does the Steps to 16 The STEPS work? to 16 al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme, based at our Learn­ing Cen­tre in Wok­ing, gives a sec­ond chance to 14 to 16 year-olds strug­gling in school. They may be cop­ing with other prob­lems in their lives and of­ten they will have had ex­tremely poor at­ten­dance at their schools, and have missed out on large long pe­ri­ods of ed­u­ca­tion. Stu­dents from the pro­gramme join our vol­un­teer crew on train­ing trips on Swing­bridge1 to help build their con­fi­dence, ac­quire new skills and learn how to work as a team. 12 How do you see the fu­ture of the canal net­work? There is still a grow­ing de­mand for the use of the canal net­works for leisure pur­poses so the fu­ture in many ways looks good. The main prob­lem is that canal net­works de­pend upon pub­lic money to some ex­tent to be kept in good con­di­tion. At a time of aus­ter­ity there seems to be a mis­match be­tween de­mand and ca­pac­ity to pro­vide re­sources. The Bas­ingstoke Canal is the per­fect ex­am­ple. It is loved by many, it suf­fers from a very poor wa­ter sup­ply due to mis­takes made when it was con­structed. There has never been enough money to rem­edy this un­for­tu­nately. 13 What do the wa­ter­ways need to change? We need to re­solve the ten­sions be­tween con­flict of in­ter­ests and de­mand. Specif­i­cally be­tween be­ing a leisure provider and an en­vi­ron­men­tal re­source. 14 Have you ever fallen in?

No, thank­fully but if I did then I would be com­forted by the knowl­edge that we reg­u­larly re­hearse re­trievals! 15 What are your fond­est me­mories on the cut? My fond­est mem­ory on Swing­bridge1 was tak­ing out three chil­dren in wheel­chairs to­gether with their car­ers and watch­ing the look of joy on each of their faces. Each child’s chair was fit­ted with ad­di­tional med­i­cal equip­ment and the chil­dren were re­stricted in move­ment but it did not stop them from hav­ing fun and notic­ing the wildlife and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the ex­cite­ment of go­ing through a lock. 16 What would you like to see hap­pen to the wa­ter­ways in your life­time? To con­tinue to pro­vide the fa­cil­ity for peo­ple to en­joy boat­ing or just watch­ing oth­ers on the wa­ter when strolling along the tow­path. 17 How do ex-pris­on­ers re­act to project? Pro­vid­ing place­ments for of­fend­ers car­ry­ing out com­mu­nity pay­back is a con­struc­tive way for of­fend­ers to serve their sen­tence, work­ing along­side our vol­un­teers. 18 What is your proud­est achieve­ment? The team’s ef­forts be­ing recog­nised by a Queen’s Award for Vol­un­teer­ing! 19 What did you want to be aged 12? At 12, I was a Sea Scout mess­ing about in boats on the Thames so some­thing to do with boats I ex­pect! 20 Where in Bri­tain would you like to sail next? Our lo­cal wa­ter­ways – they have so much to of­fer and pro­vide an oa­sis of peace and quiet in a very busy part of the coun­try.

We aim to in­spire peo­ple to make pos­i­tive changes that will last a life­time

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