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Newsletter to Members – 19 January 2022

Hi everyone

This is our first newsletter of 2022 following the January committee meeting. The minutes of our committee meeting are published on the website in the members’ section and we encourage you to read them and raise any questions or issues to committee members.


Active COVID cases in Wiltshire, last week, number 5,627 which is high, but below the national average and falling. Omicron is very much with us in the community but thankfully symptoms, on the whole, are relatively mild and national restrictions are easing in terms of travel and reduced isolation periods following positive tests. We will keep our restrictions under review, but in the meantime please continue to observe our cleanliness and social space guidelines.

The message remains, please don’t attend the club if you have any COVID symptoms, feel unwell, have family members who have tested positive or have tested positive yourself. Do let us know so we can inform people you may have been in contact with.

Paddling and activity update

The junior programme is very busy with plenty of holiday training over the Christmas break and the Q1 programme now started. Having talked to some of the parents, the recreational group is proving a great success for the growing group of non-racing junior paddlers. Anna Overton is the point of contact as Junior Programme Coordinator.

The adult senior winter programme is well advanced on Sundays and we have some great potential club contenders for DW 2022. The Waterside Series coming up provide a wonderful opportunity to test yourself, over distance and under race conditions. If you haven’t already done so, ensure you get entries completed early as there is always a cap in place for Waterside A.  All crews should now be self-sufficient for support. Good luck with the rest of your training! Dan Colby is the contact for the DW and winter training programme.

Local developments

Just before Christmas, we had a positive initial meeting with Wiltshire Council officers and their appointed development consultants. They presented future development plans for the Brewery and Wharf Area. We are identified in their draft long term development plan and the council now have a very good picture of the club and what we need.

Quality Club

In the 2022-2025 Club strategy (a copy of which is published on the website) we set an ambition to achieve the BC Quality Club standard by the end of Q1 2022. The purpose of this is to achieve a consistent standard for club management and operations. Our progress is on track and we are optimistic that we will be able to receive the award at our annual awards event in April. We have some work to do to improve aspects of our governance and safeguarding and you will see changes when we circulate new policies or ask you to do things differently.

One of the areas we reviewed in the Quality Club work was our club values. You may well ask “what are they”. If you’re like me you probably have some idea of what you value about the club and could describe the club’s culture, but the truth is we have never written down our values or actively discussed them with people.

Values are the underlying beliefs that drive our policies, behaviours and actions – we’ve written down how we expect people to behave in our fairly generic codes of conduct, based on BC templates, but we’ve never before attempted to identify the principles behind these behaviours.

A small group has developed DCC values, with the insights from two surveys sent out to all club members. The responses to these surveys have been collated into our new club values that we will communicate by email in February. Look out for this!

Club Policies

Please take time to read policies put out by the Club. They are all published on our website when reviewed and updated, but it’s vital that you understand and observe the content. A range of new policies has been reviewed and developed.  Our last newsletter drew your attention to our new club codes of conduct. I hope you have now had a chance to read these online.

This month we have two more policies for you:

  • The Club’s boat and trailer use policy. This builds on the existing club boat policy but updates it following our decision to make club boats available to competent individual paddlers. We have also decided that club crew boats should be made available for racing to encourage crew boat participation. Specific rules apply to the DW race. The policy also includes detailed guidelines for towing the club’s boat trailer. Ian Thackray (our Safety Officer) will check the driving licence, insurance details and experience of anyone wanting to tow the trailer.
  • The Club’s Data Privacy Policy. This policy tells you what data we collect, for what reason, how we manage it and explains your rights over that data. Linked to this we will be refreshing the way we collect and manage medical information from you for the 2022 membership year.

 Medical Information

Members and parents of junior members are encouraged to share any medical information that would potentially affect their safe participation in paddlesport. It is your choice what to share. This includes, but is not limited to, common conditions such as asthma (and other respiratory conditions), thermoregulation concerns, cardiomyopathy, anxiety and anaphylaxis. Members, parents of junior members and course participants will be asked periodically to declare relevant information on a medical form.  For regular paddlers and club members, we will retain any medical information you provide in a secure cabinet at the club. Hard copies of medical information may be shared with paddle leaders supervising the activity, but will be destroyed when the activity is complete or, in the case of members, at the end of each membership year.

Club facilities

You may have noticed Stuart Bell and Stuart Colby doing some work at the club. They have installed a CCTV security system which will soon be fully configured for 24-hour surveillance. This is intended to deter a series of minor vandalism and damage incidents at the club during 2020/21. We will soon be making some improvements to the access gate to increase security.

Please be security-aware and do your bit to ensure the club is left secure at all times. Our insurance is unlikely to be valid if we have left doors and gates open. Please also notice and report anything suspicious or damage you see at the club.

It’s also time to gently remind you all that we need to look after the club’s kit. For insurance purposes, we estimate we own over £100,000 in boats alone. Please report any damage you see to boats, equipment, buoyancy aids and paddles. We expect some wear and tear but we can reduce the cost of maintenance and replacement if everyone takes more care – this includes hanging up buoyancy aids to dry, not leaving paddles to fall or get trodden on, and being particularly careful when lifting and moving club boats.

Committee Affairs

Katie Scaplehorn has stood down as Welfare/Safeguarding Officer to focus on her new role as a Head Teacher. We thank you for your contribution and wish you luck in the new role. Our new Safeguarding Officer will be Emma O’Hare, who is already on the safeguarding team. Welcome to this important role Emma!

We now need to recruit two new volunteers! We are actively looking for a deputy safeguarding officer and a volunteer coordinator to replace the roles held by Emma.  If you can contribute your time to either role, please step forward. Experience isn’t necessary as we will provide training and support. Please contact Mark Bouch or Lindyanne Ehrnrooth for a role description if you are interested in either role.

Best wishes and happy paddling!


Mark Bouch

Chair of Devizes Canoe Club