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The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service news

We received lots of wonderful messages and coverage congratulating the River Thames Boat Project volunteers on the award! Thank you everyone, it has been great to have positive news to share.

From Sir David Suchet, RTBP Patron:

I could not be more delighted and thrilled to learn that the prestigious ‘Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service’ has been given to you all at the River Thames Boat Project.  It is so well deserved.
The work you do gives so much happiness to so very many people.  It also makes me so very proud to be your Patron.
So, many congratulations to you all with my very warmest wishes.

From the Mayor of Richmond, Cllr Geoff Acton:  

“I am delighted that two amazing voluntary groups from Richmond upon Thames have been recognised by the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. It is great to see both groups being recognised for their work with such a prestigious award. There are so many people who give up their time every day to help others and serve others in their community. This was seen particularity throughout the pandemic when we saw a surge in residents offering to help others in any way they could. Congratulations to the teams at Barnes Children’s Literature Festival and River Thames Boat Project for the award and their continued amazing work.” 

Although there is a delay to the easing of restrictions, we are back on the river and very busy with our education days as schools enjoy the chance to be outside. Our cruises restart this week with some reduced numbers and we will be back to our regular group sizes of 12 after the 19th July.

We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back onboard!

RTBP volunteers receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service!

We are delighted to announce that we have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK! It’s the MBE for volunteer groups!

The award was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. It aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities and is announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

RTBP is one of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive this prestigious award this year.

Jon Chapman, Chair of Trustees says: “We are truly delighted that River Thames Boat Project’s work in the local community has been recognised with such a prestigious award. Special time on the river on our boats Thames Venturer and Thames Discoverer will be even more appreciated and valuable this year after all that has happened in the past year or so. Our volunteers are a fantastic and highly dedicated group who carry out numerous roles for us, including skippering the boats, crewing, environmental education, boat maintenance, helping in the office, client development, fundraising and helping at events. The work that we do would simply not be possible without these devoted, energetic and warm -hearted individuals.”

Congratulations to all our amazing volunteers who make every day onboard our boats special!

We’re looking forward to brighter skies and more days on the river.

Sunshine, teamwork on the river and our new recruit

Preparations have been moving forward for our return to the river in May and the sunshine has been wonderful!

Education Training days are underway this week and next and Crew Training for cruises will take place in May and June.  The diary is starting to get busy with bookings and we are looking forward to welcoming our groups back to the river.

We are delighted to announce that Hannah Bottomley will be joining the RTBP team as our new Education Coordinator on the 4th May.

Hannah has a degree in Zoology and a Post Grad qualification in the Conservation of Endangered Species.  She is a life-long advocate of the environment and its conservation. She has great experience for our role including having worked onboard a converted barge in Thailand, teaching primary school age children about water quality and sustainability!  She has also dedicated considerable time to bat conservation, has worked for the RSPB and Natural England and has volunteered for Cheshire Wildlife Trust.

RTBP skipper Gunnar and RTBP volunteers partnered with the Teddington RNLI team for some hands on training with Thames Discoverer on a perfect sunny April day. Great teamwork and learnings!

We’re looking forward to more sunshine and special time on the river!

RNLI practising towing Thames Discoverer
RNLI crew alongside Thames Discoverer

Happy Easter and Thanks!

Thank you to RTBP trustee Bob Darke and running partner Phil Tauwhare who completed their riverside half marathon in under 2 hours last Sunday. They ran past the boats, alongside the river, across 2 bridges and in and out of 2 of our Royal Parks. Thank you to everyone for supporting them with sponsorship – a fantastic £700 was raised and will go towards making more special days on the river possible.

Thank you to RTBP volunteers for joining Gunnar at the dock this week for a sunshine filled day of cleaning the boats and refuelling. Thames Discoverer and Thames Venturer are shipshape and ready for the restart of our cruises and education days after Easter.

We know that time on the river on our boats will be very much enjoyed and appreciated and we are looking forward to welcoming our groups back onboard soon. In the meantime, we wish everyone a restful and restorative Easter break!

From all of the team at River Thames Boat Project.

River Thames Boat Project Spring updates and please support our two runners!

We’ve been enjoying some brighter, sunnier days and things are feeling more positive for the restart of our activities after Easter!

Schools are into their third week of being back, Care Home visits for one named person are now possible and as each week goes by, many more people are being vaccinated. There is still a way to go but we remain optimistic. We plan to be back on the river for our Education days after Easter from May onwards and for cruises, we plan to restart from June/July onwards.

Special time on the river will be possible once more and we know that it will be a welcome tonic after such difficult times!

In the meantime, the RTBP team has been busy getting everything shipshape: maintenance on the boats, updates to our admin systems, catching up with client groups, and some fundraising to contribute towards making more special time on the river possible.

This month we enjoyed our first RTBP online Quiz on Zoom. It was a great chance to see volunteers, friends, family and supporters, to test our brains – a little – and to have a laugh together! There were a few tricky river questions – of course – and some prizes and we were delighted to raise just over £1,000!

This was one of the river questions – can you name this bridge?

Next Sunday 28th March, when the clocks go forward, we have 2 runners taking on a half marathon to raise funds for RTBP. Bob Darke, one of our Trustees and running partner Phil Tauwhare have planned a route that starts and finishes in Bushy Park, takes them along the river, past our boats, across 2 bridges, and up the hill in Richmond Park! Please support them with your sponsorship:
Please go to the Virgin Money Giving page:
http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/RTBPriversiderun2021

or make a donation by BACS payment:
Acct Name: River Thames Boat Project
Acct No: 00007014
Sort Code 40-52-40
Ref: NameRun eg PippaRun

or send a cheque made payable to “River Thames Boat Project”, to Trowlock Way, Teddington, TW11 9QY. 
Thank you!

Here’s Bob in training in Bushy Park!

Job vacancy – education coordinator

Education Coordinator, River Thames Boat Project
Are you passionate about outdoor learning, with a personal commitment to environmental sustainability? Do you have the ability to inspire and engage others to understand and respect their environment?
River Thames Boat Project is looking for a highly motivated Education Coordinator to lead their very successful environmental education programmes, based mainly on their converted Dutch barge Thames Venturer.
The charity has a 30 year history and is passionate about making the Thames accessible and delivering fun and dynamic education and learning activities.  
The position is 30 hours per week, term time only, working flexible hours, at riverside locations in Teddington, Kingston and occasionally Tower Bridge as well as from the office in Teddington. For full details of the job and person specification and the online application form, click here

Closing date for applications: Monday 15th March 2021

RTBP welcomes two new Trustees to the Board

We are very happy to welcome two new Trustees to the River Thames Boat Project Board.  Chris Deavin and Steven Wibberley are both river enthusiasts, live locally and between them bring excellent commercial, business planning, charity sector and health sector experience to RTBP.  Trustee meetings are still via Zoom at the moment but when it is possible, Chris and Steven are both keen to get out on the boats and meet volunteers, Friends and supporters. 

Chris has a background in the City and significant experience of leading the commercial growth of financial research and ratings businesses. He led sales teams at S&P Investment Services, Morningstar and TS Lombard and is currently a Director at Defaqto. For many years he was the Chair of the European Independent Research Providers Association (Euro IRP) and has an MBA from Imperial College.

Chris lives in East Twickenham and has lived close to the River Thames for most of his life. He has spent many hours on the river, boating and supporting his children’s sailing and rowing. He is passionate about the river, its history and in helping to make it more accessible to those who can learn and benefit from it most, but who do not have the opportunity. He has a Level 2 Boat License and is looking forward to getting his hands on some ropes and helping with some of the trips, meeting both volunteers and passengers. He is also looking forward to using his sales and commercial experience to help the charity raise funds for its wonderful work.

Steven spent the first twenty years of his working career as a general manger in the NHS.  Twelve years ago, he moved to the charity sector, initially working at Macmillan Cancer Support and then at the British Lung Foundation.  For the past three years he has been Chief Executive at Cruse Bereavement Support, the UK’s largest bereavement charity.  Steven moved to Ham in the late 1990s and tries to make the most of living by the river, walking his dog along the tow path, pottering around in his aging and unreliable cabin cruiser or occasionally paddling a kayak.  He is delighted to be appointed as Trustee and hopes to bring his experience from working in other charities to the River Thames Boat Project.

Welcome Chris and Steven!