New Man at the Top - Ivor Caplan
Ivor Caplan was appointed national chairman of IWA in October. Ivor previously worked as an architect on waterways projects and lived on his boat for a number of years. Ivor joined IWA in 1975 and has been heavily involved with various parts of the organisation as well as leading protests and serving as a Trustee. But Ivor's commitment to the waterways sector doesn't stop there, with stints at BCN Society, Droitwich Canals Trust and serving as chair of the Residential Boat Owners’ Association for some time.
We hear about his initial thoughts on this new role and the Association’s new vision and objectives. You can read the full interview in the Winter 2017 Waterways members magazine.
The new vision and five-year objectives for IWA have recently been agreed by the trustees. What are your initial thoughts?
It is important that we have a long-term vision and we are looking forward. It has been a difficult exercise for the trustees and a lot of work has gone into agreeing on a shared vision. We’re just at the start of the journey but have set ourselves a challenge.
Possibly the most important objective is the inspiring one. It’s not just about our members and potential members but about other organisations and how we can help them or work with them. One of the things I’d like to do is build bridges with our counterparts elsewhere – I recognise it has been difficult with all the different canal societies and organisations and there has been friction in the past.
Speaking for the waterways and protecting and restoring them are what we’ve always been doing but we’re just looking to do them better now.
Inspiring is something new and different we can take forward – it involves thinking about how can we get enthusiasm and interest from people, and capture new generations as well as a more diverse sector of the population.
How do you see IWA heading under your leadership and with these new objectives?
The first thing is communication. We’ve got to get these objectives out there and the trustees are absolutely committed to doing this. We do understand, however, that getting the message out to our members and supporters will be quite a long exercise. It’s a matter of engaging with people at branch level. The bottom line is that we’re all one IWA and we’ve got to be working together.
The key objectives have been set but what we’ve got to do now is break them down to convey clearly what they mean. We’ve set the direction and we know where we’re going but there’s still a lot of detail to be worked out.
How do you think your experience as a liveaboard boater will influence your leadership?
I’ve got a good understanding about the issues affecting liveaboard boaters, and of continuous cruisers through my involvement with RBOA. It can be a difficult subject but is something that IWA absolutely supports. The key thing is getting across to members that there are issues and responsibilities that come with living afloat and it’s not always going to be as it’s portrayed in the television programmes. People have to be realistic about these things, but that’s where joining the organisation can really help with pointing them in the right direction. We work very closely with RBOA and recognise the expertise it has.
What message do you want to give to IWA members?
The key thing I want to say is: Please work with us. We’re one IWA and we’re moving the organisation forward for the benefit of everyone. In communicating our new vision and objectives, we realise that there will be lot of questions from people. Over the next few months we’ll be visiting branches and talking to people right across the Association and letting them know they are important to our new vision.
You can read the full interview in the Winter 2017 Waterways members magazine. You can read all previous issues of Waterways Magazine here.
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