National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) will be holding online training courses for Volunteer Caseworkers to join our dedicated team. There are four sessions within the training course. They are on January 23rd & 30th & 6th and 13th February  🗓 NBTA Caseworkers help boaters to deal with enforcement by navigation or other authorities.

They assist them to exercise their rights, such as access to healthcare and welfare benefits. They are at the heart of our organisation, turning knowledge of the law and a commitment to boaters rights into a powerful tool to preserve and strengthen our community in the face of harassment, discrimination and exclusion. Recent years have seen an increase in enforcement from both the Canal and River Trust (CRT) and other navigation authorities as attempts to cleanse the waterways of boaters – particularly those without a home mooring. In London, Volunteer Caseworkers have been on the front line of pushing back against CRT enforcement of the ‘water safety zones’ on the River Lee and against other aspects of the ‘London Mooring Strategy’ which aims to privatise, commercialise and gentrify the capital’s waterways by making life on the water more and more difficult for the majority of boaters. Equipped with in-depth knowledge of the law and current policy as it pertains to itinerant boaters, our Volunteer Caseworkers deal with around 200 individual cases a year – challenging CRTs illegal enforcement notices, overturning license restrictions and ensuring that vulnerable boaters or those with complex needs aren’t harassed off the water.

Becoming a Volunteer Caseworker isn’t just about fighting back for the rights of boaters- it’s also about fostering a spirit of solidarity and mutual aid within the tight-knit community that drew so many of us to the waterways in the first place. Life on the water is underpinned by community – looking out for one another, taking care of our collective home, and sharing space, experiences, information and friendship with an ever-changing array of neighbors. Through our Volunteer Caseworkers, the NBTA seeks to deepen these bonds of solidarity, and turn them into a form of collective power that can help all boaters to live with dignity and respect, and to celebrate and build our community.

Tiffany has been an NBTA Volunteer Caseworker for over three years.

She said: “It’s great to play a part in helping boaters, often when people get in touch they’re worn down by CRT. Most people find CRT’S emails, phone calls & letters threatening to take their homes away stress-inducing. With a caseworker’s help we can get them back their licences and show CRT they’re not on their own and they have support. It’s like having another person to fight your corner.”

The NBTA are not a charity or a service. We are a volunteer organisation – of boaters and for boaters – that seeks to harness, develop and preserve the vibrancy and diversity of our community so that we can continue to pursue our way of life joyfully together. We think that this life is worth fighting for- if you do too, then please sign up to one of our Volunteer Caseworker training courses and help us to celebrate and defend this special community.

There will be 4 x 2 hour online training sessions at 7pm on January 23rd & 30th & 6th and February 13th. The course is online, so accessible from anywhere. Entry is by donation, but no-one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

Sessions included: • What does an NBTA Volunteer Caseworker do? • Applicable law and NBTA take on it: Section 17 British Waterways Act 1995; Section 8 British Waterways Act 1983 • Section 13 British Waterways Act 1971; Equality Act 2010, Public Right of Navigation. • Nuts and bolts of doing casework around 6-month licences, refusal to renew without a home mooring, and Section 8 • Introduction to CRT’s Equality Act ‘reasonable adjustment’ process and practice • Scenarios and role play

If you want to take part, please contact secretariat@bargee-traveller.org.uk or 0118 321 4128. Together we are strong! 🌊