The Boaters’ Voices project run by Wiltshire Council has held several meetings. The first meeting in Devizes on 27th February was attended by 45 or so people, who discussed in small groups the many positive and negative points about living on the K&A.
Three “focus group” discussions were held in May, in Pewsey and Bradford on Avon. Around 30 boaters talked in considerable depth about their lives on the water, what was good, their fears, what made them angry and what they wanted to change, at two evening meetings. A third meeting in Bradford on Avon Children’s Centre consisted of five parents and six small children. The parents discussed the advantages and disadvantages of bringing up children on a boat, such as the skills their children learn from a very young age that children growing up in houses just don’t get the chance to develop. Meanwhile the children had fun playing with some of the Centre’s really amazing toys.
The next stage of the project, a number of in-depth filmed interviews with boaters who have volunteered for this, will begin soon. The project is co-ordinated by Peter Dunford, Wiltshire Council’s Area Manager for Bradford on Avon, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.