Cotswold Canals Trust Vice Chairman John Newton answers the question…
‘What exactly does CCT Trust Council do?’
I have been a Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT) volunteer for two years and helped to prepare the Phase 1B Heritage Lottery Fund bid — Saul to Stonehouse, Stroudwater Navigation restoration.
In 2015 I was invited to join Trust Council and therefore decided I should widen my understanding of the overall CCT organisation.
I thought the best way to do this was to get out and about and talk with some of the volunteers engaged in other activities within CCT. I found that one of the questions that came up quite regularly was ‘What exactly does Trust Council do?’
This recurring question indicated that some improvements need to be made.
Here are some early measures that Trust Council collectively hopes will achieve that aim.
Improving Communication between Trust Council and Trust Membership
In response to the need to improve communications regarding discussions and decisions at Trust Council level, Trust Council Minutes are now published on the CCT website.
The minutes are lightly edited to preserve confidential and commercially sensitive matters.
To find the last two sets of minutes go to the menu at the top of the Home Page>
Click on About Us>scroll to the bottom of the drop-down sub-menu>
Click on Document Store>Click on Trust Council Minutes.
NewsLink — Improving news collection & dissemination
The website will soon have a section to be known as NewsLink. This system designed to enable ‘newsworthy’ items to be collected, communicated and disseminated promptly and accurately.
NewsLink will take the form of a box into which anyone will be able to enter details of events, activities, projects, schemes and operational needs they consider to be newsworthy.
Correspondents will be asked to supply an email address and phone number for follow up.
Those details will be protected by the usual processes in common use on the internet.
The newsworthy items gathered by NewsLink will be relayed to:
– Trust Chair & Vice Chairs
– Website — Latest News editor
– Connect Manager
– ENews editor
– Trow Magazine editor
– Trust Photographer Mike Gallagher
Where appropriate we will continue to liaise with the ‘waterways press’ as well as local and national news outlets.
Questions & Suggestions
An emailed ‘Questions & Suggestions’ facility on the home page of the website will provide another means of interacting with anyone interested in the work of the Cotswold Canals Trust.
That is to say all members, supporters, volunteers and canal users.
This resource will allow anyone to ask a question or make suggestions via email.
Such questions or suggestions will be directed to the relevant person or organisation for a direct response.
Correspondent’s contact details will be protected in the same way as those in the NewsLink system.
But what are the responsibilities as Trust Council Members?
Firstly, Trust Council Members must ensure that the Cotswold Canals Trust Charity complies with all the necessary Charity Law rules, which cover many issues, including regular legal, operational and financial reporting.
Trust Council members normally meet every month; our main role is to consider reports, make decisions regarding policies and strategy and to ensure all our operations are conducted legally, safely and cost-efficiently.
It is therefore important that Trust Council includes people with a variety of backgrounds, including both practical hands-on canal-related experience and an understanding of managing complex businesses.
We are already carrying out these duties but the responsibilities will clearly increase as restoration proceeds!
It is important to regularly review how organisations may improve. Consequently, on Saturday, July 30th all Trust Council members will spend the day gathering views and considering exactly how we will rise to the challenge of continuing the notable historic CCT achievements into the future.
Following this meeting, and subsequently agreeing future action plans, we will share the outcomes with volunteers and members.
John sums up…
“As I have said before, it is you (and us!) volunteers and members that have enabled CCT to achieve so much in restoring these canals; together, we want to make sure we are able to continue doing so until the Severn-Thames canal link is finally re-established.”