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Crew News
July 2019 

In this issue 

Hot Topics
Living Waterways Award 2019
_________________________________________________________________
Team Updates

Fundraising | Crewing | Bookings | Membership | Marketing | Finance (claiming expenses)
_________________________________________________________________
Opportunities 

WExp Ambassadors wanted! 
| Volunteer Trips
  _________________________________________________________________
Other news
Fire brigade at Hunton Bridge  | Volunteer Spotlight
_________________________________________________________________
Regulars

 Client Feedback | Caption Contest | Chuckle Corner


Hello <<First Name>>

Summer is well and truly here (well at least it was last Thursday!)  School's out, Enable Holidays underway and we're again breaking booking records.

If you're crewing in the record temperatures we seem to be getting these days, remember to dress to stay cool and well-protected from those seriously dangerous ultraviolet rays:  sunscreen if you're determined to tan, otherwise cover up - heads especially.  And drink plenty ... of water!

OK, enough from Nanny!  For land lubbers, committee work continues - here are the latest signed-off notes from the recent team leaders and trustees meetings.  

As ever, please remember this is your voice piece and we love to receive comments and suggestions.  Just drop us an email at comms@wexp.org.uk

Happy August!

Maria & Sally

Hot topics

Proud to win Living Waterways Award 2019

Members of the Thursday team did some useful work clearing off-side vegetation  during 2017 and 2018 using our 12-person passenger boats as working boats.  This year, because our boats were in dry dock or having new engines, we asked Canal and River Trust if we could borrow one of their work boat (flats).  A boat became available on 18th Feb leaving precious little time before the birds started nesting.  An appeal was sent out asking for help and there was an excellent response from over 30 volunteers. Our venture became an official Canal & River Trust project and we gained the valuable help and advice of Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Summerbell. We managed to clear a large amount of overhanging vegetation from three and a half miles of the canal.  This included fallen willow boughs, many of which had taken root.  We took care to stack the vegetation in an environmentally friendly way.  We also cleared rubbish which had accumulated near weirs which was well appreciated by many canal-side residents and boat owners.

Each year, the Canal & River Trust celebrate the great work that is undertaken by individuals and groups throughout England & Wales through their Living Waterways Awards. For our sterling work,  Laura Summerbell nominated Wexp for one of these awards and we made it through the local judging to become a national winner. 

Paddy Flavin, Christine Thomson, Dave Lee and Frank Stimpson attended the award ceremony in Birmingham on July 4th where they were presented with an impressive trophy by Canal & River Trust CEO, Richard Parry.  (This is now in the display cabinet almost dwarfing our Queen's Award!)


Since making the award, Canal and River Trust has accepted our application to "adopt" the section of the canal from The Fisheries to Hunton Bridge.  This will enable us to work with them and other local organisations to keep the canal attractive for the benefit of boaters and local residents. A meeting has been arranged at the base on Tuesday 3rd September 11:00 am to discuss ideas and plans for this autumn and winter.  We will invite representatives from local businesses and voluntary organisations who have said that they are interested in helping.  Please let roy.cook@wexp.org.uk know if you would like to attend, have any suggestions for work to be included, and if you're in touch with other local bodies who might be interested in joining us.

Eds: Well done Roy for co-coordinating this project and all the volunteers who made it a success.

Take me to WExp Useful Links

Opportunities

Ambassadors wanted!
 
At this time of the year, the wexp comms mailbox receives attractive invitations from local organisations to have a presence at all manner of lovely summer events. We get far more of these than our tiny team can cope with.  And we receive a fair few invitations at other times of the year too.   
This opportunity should appeal if you can answer 'yes' to any of the following:
  • Do you enjoy telling people about your love of canals?
  • Do you like spreading the good news about Waterways Experiences?
  • Would you get a buzz from picking up a cheque for Enable or one of our other causes?
  • Would you jump at the occasional free drink or meal?
  • Would you like to share your WExp activity with members of your family?


Without the need to formally join a team or attend any meetings, we're looking for offers from volunteers to join a register of people we could approach occasionally as and when we receive  invitations to WExp to have a presence at local events.   

We supply all the necessary kit, guarantee brief training as needed, an off-the-shelf presentation and no committee meetings!

if you think you might be able to help in this way from time to time, please give Sally a call on 07710 175448 or email comms@wexp.org.uk to talk about the type of events you might like to help with.   THANK YOU!

August's Volunteer Trip 

Watch our for an email soon!

Team Updates

Fundraising
Collecting donations with Gift Aid 

Andew wrires....

I am pleased to confirm that the Charity now has a Virgin Money Giving page set up and able to take donations for WExp. If you use the link below and follow the instructions to make a donation, it will allow you to type in “WEXP” as the chosen charity for searching, and you can follow the steps on each page.

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/

Our  Fundraising Team will be working on this initial “Virgin Money Giving” page over the coming months as we seek to generate further funds for the work of the charity. We have a few key fund raising projects and so look out for more information in the weeks and months ahead.

Claiming Expenses 

A quick update

It is important that all volunteers who incur approved costs on behalf of the Charity are reimbursed properly. In view of some feedback and my understanding that a few people are finding it difficult, I thought it would be helpful to briefly explain the process.

All expense claims - Travel (mileage) or General costs should be claimed using the approved Expenses Claim Forms set up for this purpose by the Charity. These links, along with a general information sheet about claiming expenses are listed in the Useful Links document included in every issue of Crew News. (The best way to have it readily accessible is to add this to your Favourites in your browser (click on the star at the right end of the address bar.)  

If you do not have access to a computer, there are some paper forms in the Visitor Centre, in the drawer of the desk outside the Kitchen.

Please complete the form, date and sign it and submit it to your Team Leader (TL) for authorisation. This works best if it is emailed to your TL, who will then be able to check and forward it to Payables@wexp.org.uk.  Using a manual form may take longer to be seen by your Team Leader but will still get processed. 

Team leaders please note that it is easier for Payables if you could forward the claim in PDF format so that it can be saved directly into the financial system. For those of you who are familiar with Google Docs or Excel, you will know that it's very simple to save a spreadsheet or word document as a PDF so we'd really appreciate it if you could remember to do this on all claims please. 

A member of the Payables team (Shirley) picks up these expense claim forms and updates our financial records before we move to making the payment of the expenses directly into your Bank Account (you only need to put these onto the form for your first claim - after that we have them securely stored).   We aim to process Expenses Forms on a weekly basis.

If you have any problems in completing the form, do please ask. Email payables@wexp.org.uk and we will be happy to assist.

Thank you

Andrew Thomson, Treasurer.

CREWING 
Malcolm Tebbutt writes...

Sorry for the number of pleas we have issued for volunteers over recent weeks.  We try to phone round if nobody has volunteered. But sometimes, time does not permit and a mailer to everybody cannot be avoided.

But what a summer we are having!  Our wonderful band of volunteers keep on coming up trumps and filling every vacancy, even if it does go a bit close to the wire sometimes!.  And Crewing have not had to twist an arm yet, that I am aware of! We always try not to press our willing volunteers too hard. But please feel free to let Malcolm Tebbutt know if you feel you are doing more trips than you would ideally like to.  We may be able to ease the pressure for you. But of course if you would like to be on the water more, this is the time of year to enjoy as much time as you want on the canal.

MARKETING
Sally writes ...

If, like me,  you've been alarmed to find an absence of map leaflets in the usual plastic drawer in the Visitor Centre, the good news is that Maria has located the box we knew was buried somewhere in the depths of the big cupboard and has replenished the drawer.  The bad news is we're running very low on the small ones.  Just to reassure you, these will be reprinted just as soon as we have a decision on next year's trip prices.  In the meantime, please use the map version of the leaflets for general use - the difference in cost is small.

Marketing, Communications and Fundraising jobs are closely related in terms of the type of tasks involved, but as we gear up for more significant fundraising activity and recruiting additional volunteers for this, we've decided to set up a separate Fundraising team under Helen Parsons' leadership.  She will continue to be a member of the marketing team to ensure that our respective agendas and activities are mutually supported.  
BOOKINGS
Tim writes...

Bookings continue to flow in at a slightly increased rate compared with last year.  There's some shift in timings though - this time last year, limits on accepting high summer bookings for fear of being short of crew meant that clients tended to opt for September instead of July and August which is maybe why we have more unfilled capacity this year for late summer.  Happily there's still time for these to be booked, particularly if word gets around.

MEMBERSHIP 
Sue writes...

Membership has been very quiet recently as WExp hasn’t been recruiting for boat crew.  However, we’ve just put out the adverts to start recruiting crew again so you might start seeing some new faces around.  Also there’s been a slight question as to whether you need to wear your name badge or not if your name is on your shirt. The answer is - it’s up to you!  From now on Kath is going to be ordering all shirts with names. If you haven’t got your name on your shirt, don’t worry, you can order one, just watch for Kath’s emails regarding ordering clothing for information.

MAINTENANCE
A plea from our under-sung heros ....

We're blessed in WExp to have such a lovely hard-working volunteers prepared to dedicate their Wednesday mornings to a job that most of us hate - housework!  They realise that at the end of a long trip, attention to cleaning isn't the most attractive of jobs  but by and large, our crews are to be commended on what they achieve. 

But can we do better? 

Is it really acceptable for worktops to get into the state shown in the top 'before' picture?  What does this signal to our clients happening to be on board towards the end of the three week deep clean cycle? 
Come on guys - please step up (particularly if you happen to be an all male crew?) and let's see if we can keep those worktops, floors and bathrooms spick and span day in day out! 
Enable
Sue Dickins writes...

The summer Enable trips are now well in hand.  This summer there are four trips - one up on 2019.  Our thanks must go to all our wonderful volunteers who make these trips possible, including the Leaders - Marion, John, Ian & Jim.  If you’ve missed the opportunity of going on an Enable trip this year and you’ve been thinking about it, don’t worry we’ll be recruiting crew for Enable for 2020 shortly!

Other news

Fire Brigade pump out from Canal  ...
Cathie Millar Reports  ...
 Sheldrake 3's 11th July trip  passed Hunton Bridge where the Fire Brigade were pumping water from the canal to a fire at Leavesden studio over a mile away where they'd run out of water!  Fire Brigade guys said they'd seen all three of our boats and asked all about us - all great publicity!  And nice to meet up with crews of our sister ships!





All part of the waterways experience!!

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT
Frank Stimpson 


What prompted you to join WExp?
Having just stopped work and relocated to Berkhamsted from Derbyshire to be closer to my daughter. My daughter decided I needed an interest besides doing work at her home. She initially suggested bowls, however also found Wexp and suggested I make contact. I did and took a taster trip in August 2018 and here I am.

What roles do you Perform?
Mainly crewing all 3 wide beams and also canal clearing.

What do you enjoy most about being with WExp?
Cruising along the canal and working with a very pleasant crowd of people also providing very enjoyable trips for the clients.I was also privileged to attend the CRT event in Birmingham where we collected the award. A very proud moment.

What do you like/not like about WExp?
There are no dislikes.

What do you do Outside of WExp?
Rest and at the moment lap up the sunshine also my daughter always has work to be done at her property and of course there is always the Bowls to think about.

What do your friends say about you volunteering for WExp?
Don't really know as most of my friends live up north but they are really surprised to know what I am doing.

Whether you're an old-hand or newbie, please consider helping us by contributing your story -  just click here  to see how easy it is and remember to provide a photo. It's always wonderful to know more about our colleagues.

Client Feedback

Another great month -  thank you  to all you amazing volunteers for making a difference in so many people's lives.  Here is this month's selection...

We all had a wonderful time, thank you so very much. We will definitely be booking again in the future. It was fun, relaxing, educational and very well organised. 
Julie Ghai 7th July



This was the second time we had a trip we were there last year too. As a group with health issues and mobility problems, it was wonderful to feel safe and secure with the great professional and friendly crew we had. To meander along the canal seeing all the wildlife and feeding the swans and baby cygnets made me feel like an excited child. Fish and chips were Lovely. Thank you for a perfect day. 

A great team of volunteers, who always make sure everyone gets the most out of their time aboard. 

A brilliant way to gather, eat and relax with family and friends. 

We booked for a family get together, my mum’s 80th birthday! The whole experience was wonderful; the boat, the facilities (we came with food and birthday bubbles)- the boat was equipped with everything we needed and Dave even sorted Champagne glasses! Our group was made up of family from the UK and Australia, and all were made to feel welcome with everyone having a go at the locks and even as ‘captain’! Dave and his crew shared their knowledge and stories and everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable experience. We couldn’t recommend it enough! 

The service is brilliant and your Volunteers are always a pleasure to meet, as we had the barge for the weekend we had our own trained skippers and we had a marvelous time as always.   

Well worth a day out particularly if interested in hands-on experience in operating the locks.  

After a warm welcome and informative briefing, our group had a thoroughly enjoyable day, thanks to the diligence of our expert crew. I cannot speak highly enough of the friendly manner in which the whole event was conducted. Everyone was delighted with the comfort, surroundings and of course the beautiful sights along our trip. Everyone was happy, most asked when we could go again…some even suggested we should make it an annual event! 

This is a great trip, well worth the money and a very pleasant experience. 

All of our ladies that had mobility problems and needed the lift but 
they were well looked after.

Brilliant day out, excellent value for money, and supporting a really good cause at the same time.  

We all had such a nice day didn't want to get off, so will be booking all day next time thankyou so much.

I’ve recommended it to everyone I’ve spoken to and put it on Facebook. Thank you. It was a great day out & experience. The staff were particularly good with the young children on our trip, giving them time & explaining the steering and changing the locks. They didn’t rush them at all, made sure they were safe at all times and were very patient. Thank you. 

Crew obviously had experience of dealing with adults with Learning Difficulties and were understanding and patient. 

One passenger with ADHD, but the crew dealt with it well.  

CAPTION CONTEST

This Month's Photo 

Ping your caption suggestions for
this and/or send any WExp image
that's amused you recently to
comms@wexp.org.uk 






Last Month's Photo


Don't go out bear-headed in the sun!!
Courtesy of Kathy Lee



 

CHUCKLE CORNER

Beware!! Loose nut on the tiller

Five out of four people have trouble with fractions

How do you know when it's time to tune your bagpipes?

I never make mistakes. I thought I did once but I was mistaken

Never mind the dog Beware of the wife.
Courtesy of Rick Hogger

If you've got a sense of humour - we know you do! - send your suggested jokes to comms@wexp.org.uk

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