Wrecking of the Kennet & Avon Canal trust

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Mon Sep 27 19:46:52 BST 2010

Trust Triad in Third Sector pact with British Waterways

British Waterways has announced its move into the 
'third sector' and piloting the craft on this 
very doubtful journey will be the The Kennet and 
Avon Canal Trust Triad made up of of absentee 
Chairman, David Rees, General Manager, Mike Rodd 
and their 'blagging-blogger', former BW employee, 
Terry Kemp who between them continue to steer the 
Trust into ever deeper financial chaos.

Speaking from his bunker in deepest Devon, 
Chaiman Rees said: "A key feature will be the 
drive to attract more volunteers to the canal. We 
can achieve this by offering new opportunities 
and demonstrating that it's worth getting 
involved because there is a real chance to make a difference".

This man has no knowledge or interest in the K 
and A — or canals in general and in the few 
months that he has been Chairman he has already 
overseen the abandoning of the 'volunteer model' 
in two of the Trust's tea rooms which they now 
let out to the highest bidder because they could 
not run them at a profit with unpaid volunteers as staff.

You have to ask the question that if the Kennet 
and Avon Canal Trust cannot run a tea room at a 
profit — what chance is there of them running a 
waterway successfully? The fact is that the only 
volunteers they can get are those that want to 
play on trip boats or with the two pumping 
stations and they manage to succeed despite the 
interference of the Trust administrators in Devizes.

The new trip boat, The Kenavon Venture, that 
unlike the Trust's other three boats, has to 
operate within interfering distance of Mike Rodd 
and is not attracting very many paying passengers 
has, in the short time they have been running the 
boat, already managed to overheat the engine 
which has made major repair work necessary.

As with other major changes at the Kennet and 
Avon Canal Trust, the membership will not be 
consulted — and this unelected and 
unrepresentative Triad will make fundamental 
changes to the role of this Charity and the 
membership will be presented with a fait accompli.

Unelected — surely not! Well the fact is that 
none of these three are elected members of the K 
and A Canal Trust Council. Mike Rodd is a paid 
member of staff, David Rees was parachuted in to 
become the new Chairman without any reference to 
the membership and he was co-opted on to Trust 
Council and immediately made Chairman. He will 
not actually be an elected member of Trust Council until the Trust AGM.

Terry Kemp's is a very interesting case because 
he resigned from being a Trustee at the beginning 
of this year — so that he could do two months 
paid work on a 'volunteering strategy' for the 
Kennet and Avon Canal Trust — and then — 
surprise, surprise he was co-opted back on to 
Trust Council immediately the paid work came to 
an end. I am reliably informed that this is not 
inline with the spirit of the Trust's 
constitution that specifically excludes Trustees 
from being paid for work for the Trust. But then 
this is not the only area where the Triad, 
presumably with the support of the rest of Trust 
Council, pay scant regard to the K and A Canal 
Trust contstitution ... of which more later.

Posted by cut-throat at 10:43 1 comments
Labels: Avon, British Waterways, BW, David Rees, 
K and A Canal Trust, kennet, Mike Rodd, Terry Kemp, third way, triad
Monday, 24 May 2010
Fire fighters appoint boat safety advisor

After dealing with six major fires on boats in 
the last two years — one of them fatal — 
Wiltshire Firefighters have appointed a boat 
safety advisor to liaise with people who live and work on the K&A Canal.

Rob Buckland will be visiting the boating 
community throughout the year to advise on issues 
such as smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, 
cooking, fuel storage, flares, life jackets and general water safety.

Rob said, "Although boat fires are less common 
than fires on land, they can have devastating 
consequences when they do occur, as we have seen 
with the recent incidents in Wiltshire.

"Boats are often in remote locations with 
difficult access, and when a fire starts on 
board, it can spread very rapidly. My job is to 
visit the boating community and urge them to keep 
their boats equipped with the correct safety equipment."

All boat dwellers can now request free boat 
safety visit from Rob and he will come and give 
advice on all aspects of safety on boats.

You can contact Rob on 07734 483880 or email: rob.buckland at wiltsfire.gov.uk

Posted by cut-throat at 09:22 0 comments
Labels: boat safety, fire, K and A Canal, Kennet and Avon Canal
The Barge Bicentennial Bonanza

The Barge Inn at Honey Street is not only 
celebrating 200 years of the K&A Canal but also 
200 years of the pubs existence — and they will 
be doing it in style on June 26th with THE BARGE BICENTENNIAL BONANZA.

This pub is renowned for its musical 
entertainment — so this is going to be a great bash.

The schedule for this free event is:
3.00 pm The Mangled Wurzels - A three-piece 
scrumpy & Western band based on Adge Cutler and The Wurzels

5.30 pm Neil Hopkins - Local guitarist playing Hendrix, Rock & Roll etc

8.30 pm The Hub - Footstomping teeth shattering folk music!

... and there is a rumour that a special 
celebration cider is being brewed for the event.

For more information phone Adrian Potts on 
07710784549 or email urchfont at btinternet.com. 
Their website is: http://the-barge-inn.com/entertainments.htm
Posted by cut-throat at 04:41 0 comments
Labels: K and A Canal, Kennet and Avon Canal, music, The Barge Inn
Saturday, 22 May 2010
The K&A Canal celebrates 200 years — but not on Devizes Wharf
The K&A Canal Trust continues in its failing 
ways. The impression given by Messrs. Rodd and 
Kemp is that the 200th Anniversary celebrations 
for the Canal are being led by the K&A Canal 
Trust. This sadly is as accurate as most 
information coming out of their HQ in Devizes.

The fact is, that aside from the hugely 
successful annual Newbury Waterfest that is run 
by a very small band of dedicated Newbury Branch 
volunteers, the K&A Canal Trust is actually 
offering nothing of note to the celebrations.

This glorious sunny Saturday (May 22nd) was to 
have been the Trust's show case event on Devizes 
Wharf but sadly, as is so often the case in this 
organisation bereft of leadership, they were 
unable to get enough enthusiasm from their 
dwindling membership and they had to cancel the 
event. They blamed a problem over a licence from 
Wiltshire Council — but it is very strange that 
none of the many other events along the canal 
have the same problems and they are able to go ahead as planned.

There will be a major celebration at Great Bedwyn 
on June 5th where the village will re-enact the 
ceremony held in 1799 when the canal was opened as far as the village.

In Widcombe, Bath, a huge family fun day takes 
place on June 13th. This year visitors to 
Widcombe Rising are being asked to come in 
nautical costume and there will be canal-side picnics and a floating stage.

There is no parking near the event so visitors 
are being encouraged to walk to the party or come by boat.

The village has created a canal history trail and 
there will be a treasure hunt. A street theatre 
project with a water theme has involved young 
people and they will give a promenade performance on the day.

The internationally famous Natural Theatre are 
based in Widcombe and are keen supporters of the 
Rising. They will be very much in evidence at the 
event and there will be wandering musicians, top 
local bands, a camera obscura, women’s Morris, a 
punt on wheels, children’s creative activities, 
the forty ladies of the Handbags of Harmony in 
full voice, Chinese, Indian and Western foods and even a miniature cinema.

The night before there is an evening musical 
picnic at the stunning Palladian Bridge in nearby National Trust Prior Park.

On Saturday July 17th the villagers of Bathampton 
and the boating community are joining together to 
celebrate 200 years of the K&A on Bathampton 
Wharf. This all day event will have loads of 
activities for the kids in the daytime and bands and films in the evening.

The event is being funded by the Parish Council 
and Bathampton residents have organised it with 
the help of members of the boating community.

KevThePipe is stage-managing the music event and 
he needs performers to get in touch soon so that 
they can be scheduled in. Contact him in person 
on 'Stanley', by email: kevaitch at hotmail.com or by phone: 07796 560476.

This promises to be the event of the year — so 
come on foot, by boat, on a bicycle ... or by car 
— but be there — you will not want to miss this event.

The organisers of these events have not allowed 
the K&A Canal Trust administrators to have 
anything at all to do with them. As a consequence 
they are all, undoubtedly, destined to be hugely successful.

The Trust's piss-poor organising ability is 
renowned — and they have shown that they could 
not even organise a piss-up on their new 
tripboat, the Kenavon Venture, that operates from 
Devizes Wharf, more often than not, with more crew than paying passengers!

On a recent occasion when they had a fully booked 
charter for a local boat club's booze and jazz 
cruise — the music and beer-loving boaters 
arrived to find that not only was there none of 
the special Wadworth K&A 200 celebration beer 
that they had been promised — but there was no 
beer at all on the boat because the Trust had not 
thought to stock the boat's bar.

Luckily the owner of the boat, who now leases it 
to the Trust for them to operate with volunteers, 
had some beer at home that was left over from 
when he operated the boat — and he delivered it 
to the boat so that the cruise could go ahead. 
The cruise was enjoyed by all of the jazz-loving 
tipplers — but no thanks to management of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust.
Posted by cut-throat at 08:49 0 comments
Labels: bicentenary, k and a 200, K and A Canal, 
Kenavon Venture, Kennet and Avon Canal Trust
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Trees die needlessly as Trust Trash leaflets
The Spring issue of 'The Butty' magazine from the 
Kennet and Avon Canal Trust is a very interesting 
read. It is not often that you read a magazine 
that you need to 'read between the lines' to the 
extent that you have to in this one to actually 
understand what the real story is.

Anyway, as I have suggested before, all is not 
well at the the failing K&A Canal Trust and 
massive savings have had to be made for them be 
able to meet their huge staff costs. We are told 
that this is the last issue of the magazine in its present form.

A story by Charles Reiss attempting to justifying 
changes to the way the Trust communicate with 
members says, among other things, that they need 
to move away from 'dead tree technology'.

Very interesting - because there is a 'news in 
brief' headlined 'New look for Trust leaflets' in 
the magazine that says that the K&A Canal Trust 
leaflets have been redesigned and the information 
updated by a team from Crofton Branch.

Sadly, I am very reliably informed, that in their 
use of 'dead tree technology' to produce the 
leaflets -trees were sacrificed needlessly.

After spending many months putting together the 
leaflets the hapless team made such serious 
mistakes in information in the leaflet that 
75,000 large colour glossy leaflets had to be 
scrapped and re-printed. Not very good use of 
members' subscriptions and definitely not very environmentally friendly.
Posted by cut-throat at 11:05 0 comments
Labels: canal, Charles Reiss, dead tree 
technology, K and A Canal Trust, Kennet and Avon Canal Trust
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Kemp's jig continues
Is there no limit to the mayhem that the Kennet 
and Avon Canal Trust's blagging-blogger, Terry 
Kemp, can cause along the length of the K&A Canal?

He has just announced that after spending 
countless thousands of pounds of grant money on 
the PACT Centre in Pewsey to provide an art 
gallery, meeting rooms and IT access for 
villagers, the Pewsey Area Community Trust, of 
which he is a leading light, is to sack its staff 
and shut up shop after only three years.

Happily for Kemp this will not leave him idle as 
his jig continues along the canal to Honeystreet. 
He is also a leading light in the Barge Inn 
Community Project that has just got £270,000 from 
the village SOS project run by the BBC and the Big Lottery Fund.

They intend to use the money to buy the lease of 
the pub. Heaven help this popular canalside pub - 
because if Kemps previous ventures are anything 
to go by it will not be long before that folds in chaos.

Alongside this venture he has his business 
'Facilitating People' 
(www.facilitatingpeople.co.uk) which he runs with 
former BW cronies. Strangely if you want to 
volunteer with Kennet and Avon Canal Trust you 
have to email 
"terry.kemp at facilitatingpeople.co.uk" and not the Trust's offices in Devizes.

Could it be that Mr Kemp sees himself as the 
volunteering supremo in the BW/K&A Trust alliance 
that he, General Manager, Mike Rodd and absentee 
Chairman, David Rees are trying to engineer? I 
think perhaps he does and I wonder what Rees and 
Rodd are hoping is in it for them.
Posted by cut-throat at 11:03 0 comments
Labels: Barge Inn, David Rees, K and A Canal 
Trust, Kennet and Avon Canal, Kennet and Avon 
Canal Trust, Mike Rodd, Terry Kemp
K&A Canal Trust - not very enterprising
K&A Canal Trust Enterprise - a sad, sad journey into financial ruin

Although the K&A Canal Trust are still 
advertising on their website for volunteers for 
their cafes - the truth is that they do not need 
volunteers for the cafes because they have 
already let their cafes to commercial operators.

So incompetent is "Enterprise Ltd" - the trading 
arm of the K&A Canal Trust - that they cannot 
make a profit with a staff of unpaid volunteers. 
So they have let the cafes to commercial 
operators - who they describe as commercial 
partners. One can only assume they have done this 
to 'get round' restrictive lease agreements that preclude sub-letting.

So both the Trust Cafe on Newbury Wharf and the 
Bradford on Avon Wharf Cafe are being run by 
commercial firms who have no connection with the 
K&A Canal Trust and the K&A Canal Trust is now 
planning to allow a commercial business to open 
up a cafe in the upstairs rooms of the K&A Canal 
Trust office building on the Wharf in Devizes.

This is particularly interesting because the K&A 
Canal Trust does not, at the moment, have a lease agreement on the building.

They did, in the past, have an agreement with the 
now departed Kennet District Council (who 
themselves sub-let the premises from WCC) for 
them to be used for 'recreational and allied' purposes).

There is no record of the K&A Canal Trust 
negotiating a new lease agreement with Wiltshire 
Council - so one would have to assume that the 
same restrictions exist on use of the premises — 
and they will continue until Wiltshire Council 
and the K&A Cannel Trust negotiate a new lease 
agreement. Any plans to sublet space in the 
building would have to form part of a new lease 
agreement for the building - an agreement that yhey do no have at the moment.

There a question mark over the validity of the 
agreements that the K&A Canal Trust have entered 
into at BOA Wharf and Newbury Wharf with 
commercial operators As far is BOA is concerned 
it it believed that BW are the landlords and - as 
we are rapidly moving to the situation where BW 
and the K&A Canal Trust are one and the same - it 
probably does not matter - even if the existing 
agreement precludes sub-letting.

As far as Newbury is concerned the landlord is 
probably West Berks Council - but it could 
possibly be Newbury Town Council - anyway it is 
highly unlikely that it was the intention of the 
council that they would want to let the building 
at a peppercorn rent for charitable use - for 
that charity to then let it out to the highest bidder to a commercial operator.

There is much more to this sorry saga - of which - more later...
Posted by cut-throat at 11:02 0 comments
Labels: and Avon Canal, Bradford on Avon Wharf, K 
and A Canal Trust, K and A Canal Trust 
Enterprise, kennet, Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, Newbury Wharf
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Canal Trust cash crisis
The latest issue of the Kennet and Avon Canal 
Trust magazine, The Butty, is now on the news 
stands and it paints a desperately sorry picture 
of its Council's ability to organise itself and the Trust's finances.

The magazine reports that before Christmas they 
sacked the office manager in a desperate attempt 
to balance the books and they set up a committee 
who's sole aim it would seem was to get rid of 
The Butty (a magazine enjoyed and respected by 
users of the canal) to further this desperate quest to save money.

A committee was formed chaired by unelected 
Trustee, retired hack, Charles Reiss, diminutive 
general manager, Mike Rodd a paid member of staff 
and Terry Kemp, who's risible ramblings on his 
Vodafone blog are bemusing all who can be bothered to read it.

This terrible trio produced a report that managed 
to insult and alienate Trust members and Reiss 
justified their refusal to consult with Trust 
members by saying that the committee had decided 
what they were going to do and so any 
consultation with members would have been as he said, 'at best a pretence'.

So if you are a member of the K and A Canal Trust 
take note - the people on your Trust Council 
don't actually care what you think. They want 
your money but they don't want your opinion. Do 
not make the mistake of thinking that there is 
even the 'pretence' of democracy in the K&A Canal Trust.

Not many members of the K&A Canal Trust know that 
they now have a new chairman. Not before time 
some will say. But what a very, very strange 
choice they have made for this vital position.

After ousting the last chairman, Brian Poulton, a 
couple of years ago with a vote of no confidence 
they were unable to find a replacement from 
within their own ranks. An extremely well 'spun' 
story in the national press said that it was a 
deliberate decision to run the Trust without a 
Chairman but it seems clear that they were unable 
to find someone from within their own ranks who 
was able to take over the job - how sad is that?

After looking around for two years or so they 
finally found someone to take on the role — they 
parachuted in David Rees. I am reliably informed 
that he lives in Devon and he has absolutely no 
interest in the K&A Canal or any other canal for that matter.

So you would have to ask what his motivation is 
in taking on the Chairmanship of the K&A Canal 
Trust and why the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust 
Council is so desperate to get someone to take on 
the job with such a background.

I am looking into this man's background and 
connections and I will let you know what I find out. It all seems very odd.
Posted by cut-throat at 15:48 0 comments
Labels: Avon, canal, kanda, Kemp, kennet, Reiss, Rodd, water canals
Trust in the future?
The Kennet and Avon Canal is in a desperate state 
and the organisation that saved it from closure 
and dereliction and worked to restore it is now 
shaming the work done by those campaigners who 
saved the canal. The K&A Canal Trust should 
probably be given a decent burial - with the hope 
that a more principled organization can then be 
formed that is capable of looking after the 
interests of the users of the K&A Canal.

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