Well - that was one of the most encouraging encounters I suspect any of us have ever had with Head Office!
Nottingham was getting twitchy over the turnout as comparatively few bothered to pre-register... and I knew a few key folk (keen to go) were unable to make it... but we had 22 folk from around the region... including the usual suspects (club volunteers)... but also folk with no attachment to any club and who I have never met before.
Guin Batten (Head of Strategy and Devlopment) pitched things well in setting the stage and stuck to key highlights which were (mostly) relevant / interesting for those in the room... but then handed over to Ben Seal (Places to Paddle Manager) who did the rest. Ben also struck a good tone, introducing himself as a canoeist and showing good awareness of his audience's understandable scepticism.
What came across most clearly was a depth of commitment to winning people around by listening and by delivering on what was wanted!
Key argument: whilst we believe we have a PRN... the ways in which this is contested means the actual situation on the ground presents unacceptable barriers... and now is THE time (because of what's happening in Wales, because Brexit gives us opportunities, because of drive from enthusiasts) to get to a point where all concerned recognise that we should all (canoeists, wild swimmers, whoever) have access to water.
The core of the consultation was about the "Charter" that's to sit at the core of everything else that's done. The broad thrust of this was discussed around tables, as was the wording... and the 5-6 key focus areas were gone into in some depth. This was all in early-draft form... but a lot of thought had clearly gone into it (not least through the volunteers who advise on this front) and as a starting point it was well received.
Of course, subsequent consultations may be slightly different... but on the basis of what we saw, engagement would appear to be very much worthwhile!
https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/regi ... -feedback/