The Accessible Waterways Association is headed up by founder Tracey Clarke, helped by a team of directors chosen for the skills they can bring.
Founder & Membership Secretary
With hubby Tim, Guide Dog Loki and Hearing Assistance Dog (in training) Ozzie, I live aboard narrowboat Sola Gratia as a continuous cruiser. Tim and I have been enjoying this nomadic floating lifestyle since March 2014. We have no desire to live any other way, nor any regrets about leaving bricks and mortar.
In 2011, I was registered as Severely Vision Impaired and now have just a ‘pinhole’ of useful vision in my right eye only. Without assistance (both 2-legged and 4-legged) I could not manage it but, as a team, we do it ‘our way’ and make it work!
In March 2020, I was co-opted onto the Canal & River Trust Council to represent the interests of Disabled Boaters. Long-prior to that, I had set up the Facebook group IWAF (Inland Waterways Accessibility Forum) as an interactive discussion platform supporting boaters and other waterways users who experience accessibility issues on and around our waterways. I also instigated a series of meetings around the country for disabled boaters to meet with appropriate staff members from Canal and River Trust. These began before the Covid 19 pandemic drove everything to online format. The meetings have continued online since then and are now well attended regular events every two months.
Out of these meetings came the idea of the Boaters’ Blue Card scheme; soon to be launched, and a few other developments that are now getting underway to strive to improve the accessibility of our beloved waterways system.
AWA is ‘my baby’ born out of the above. It became evident that it would be better if the Boaters’ Blue Card scheme is administered by an independent body rather than by CRT. This is not least because I want to roll it out to other waterways authorities, but also because it is more likely to be accepted by people that are wary of ‘the authorities’ for whatever reasons.
AWA is, as I write this, still very much in its infancy, but I have big hopes, aims and ambitions for it to grow into a well-recognised and valuable organisation. I cannot begin to do this though without the help and support of the rest of the team of Directors. Together we will strive to make a difference to the accessibility for all of our wonderful network of the Inland Waterways of the UK.
You can contact Tracey on email@example.com.
I have lived aboard our narrowboat Sola Gratia, with my wife, Tracey, since March 2014. Our current boat is the second one of the same name. As continuous cruisers, we have covered a fair proportion of the network, although nowhere near as much as we’d hoped by now.
For many years I was an active Parish Councillor for the village of Sompting where we lived, and was chairman for several years. I was also a School Governor. Tracey joined me on the Parish Council and together we were instrumental in setting up the annual Sompting Festival, which we ran for many years.
With a background originally in retail, I then spent many years working in accounts, before setting up my own computer business at the end of 1999. Latterly, I worked as a manager in the operations department of a bus company, including finally achieving a long standing ambition of getting a PCV licence (which I still hold). I decided to retire when made redundant at the end of 2013 so we could sell up bricks and mortar, buy a boat and move aboard.
In 2018 we got the opportunity to take over a floating business (The Doggie Boat). We thoroughly enjoy this, as it gives us a great opportunity to chat to people on the towpath about life on the canals.
My hearing has never been particularly good, and is slowly deteriorating. In February 2020, when Tracey was between Guide Dogs, we got ourselves a little rescue dog, Ozzie. We noticed his alerting tendencies, and are now in the process of training him to be a hearing assistance dog for me.
I look after the AWA’s website and social media presence.
You can contact Tim on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have lived on a narrowboat in the West Midlands for 10 years along with my husband – Tim and 4 legged – Marley. I have an adult son – M-A.
Due to my father being in the armed forces, I moved around a lot as a child and that is where I learned to be able to make friends easily – which in adult life means I can talk to pretty much everyone!
All of my working life I have worked in offices and have a particular like of administration. I like working in the background, ensuring that the little things are sorted so that the rest of the organisation can get on with their roles. But, if needed, I will step forward and help where necessary.
I have one of the unseen disabilities, having battled with depression and anxiety for over 20 years. When people meet me they simply have no idea because I am bright and bubbly and have spent years hiding behind a wall – my way of coping with it!
You can contact Lindsay on email@example.com.
Treasurer & Vice Chair
I have lived on my narrowboat since April 2006.
Joining the Cubs as a youngster, I then went into the Scouts, progressing to being a leader in both cubs and scouts, along with my late wife Hazel. I spent 3 years in the army and gained qualifications in teaching, which I have used countless times in my adult life.
I continue to update and progress my career whenever possible. This involves ensuring that I am up to date with current rules and regulations and that any training I give is correct and current.
I volunteered with St John Ambulance as a first aider, cycle response, stores manager, driver trainer and large event co-ordinator. Subsequently, I was employed by them as a driver trainer. This was followed by several years in the West Midlands Ambulance Service. I enjoyed the time I spent working within the NHS.
I now volunteer for Tooleys Boat yard as a skipper (amongst any other roles required as and when needed).
Currently I hold a class 1 HGV licence and have been teaching HGV leaners how to drive for just over a year in order for them to gain their licence.
You can contact Tim on firstname.lastname@example.org.