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SNT Sponsorship ‘deal’ with Advanced Accountancy Sealed.

We were absolutely delighted that a generous local accountancy firm, Advanced Accountancy Midlands, a financial organisation based in Kingswinford, approached us a few weeks ago about potentially forging a sponsoring relationship. After openly discussing how this would work in benefitting both parties it soon became apparent that this somewhat pioneering strategy for the Trust was a sound proposition because we quickly felt a sense of great confidence and true generosity in our first ever sponsoring organisation.

And so last week the relationship became a reality and we were thrilled to receive a four-figure donation from their director Marina Parry. The photograph above shows the Trust’s Chairman David Caunt being presented with a cheque for £1000 by her whilst on-board The Blackcountry Man canal boat.

The Bonded Warehouse, as a volunteer-led venture which has been serving its community for over 60 years, will use the corporate sponsorship to help maintain its iconic 18th Century community building and to support a range of local events.

 Advanced Accountancy Midlands director Marina Parry was delighted the money was going to a worthy cause. “We have been looking for a new charity to sponsor for some time now and when the opportunity arose with The Bonded Warehouse, it was too good to pass up,” she enthused, “Everyone in Stourbridge is familiar with the vital work the group does preserving the region’s industrial heritage and building community spirit – we’re thrilled to support their efforts. We’ve enjoyed a period of rapid progression at Advanced Accountancy over recent years so this was our way of saying thank you to our valued clients as well as putting back into the community. We’re so pleased to be working alongside such an iconic organisation who work so hard to serve the local community. I look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with The Bonded Warehouse team in the future.

David Caunt the Chairman of Stourbridge Navigation Trust responded with equal enthusiasm:

Stourbridge Navigation Trust are very grateful to Advanced Accounting for taking this sponsorship step and is a very welcome initiative which we hope will be of mutual benefit.

The Trust is tasked by a number of national bodies to maintain the Grade 2 listed Bonded Warehouse and to have oversight of the Stourbridge Canal Town Arm. The maintenance of a listed building will always be costly and every year we have a programme of major works to keep the buildings and surrounds in first class order.

This sponsorship will help to relieve the financial pressures experienced by the Trustees in performing their duties and responsibilities”.

So next time you are in Canal Street by the Bonded Warehouse or attending one of the many events taking place over the year do look out for the Advanced Accountancy banners/posters/cards proudly displayed around the building and the Stourbridge Arm canal – we think they look great ! The photo gallery below shows a record of the sponsorship event, describes our new sponsor and also includes a lovely picture of Marina the director and Rohan the practice manager.

If you are looking to engage a local and reputable Accountancy firm for services from payroll, book-keeping to accounts then take a look at their website: http://www.advancedaccountancy.co.uk/ or give them a call on 01384 271858.

More Shambolics at the Bonded Warehouse !

We were delighted to receive an email from The Shambolics sharing with us their show reel which was filmed at the Bonded Warehouse.  The band stepped into the breach at last year’s Open Weekend and proved a great success by entertaining the crowds with their wide range of music in their own inimitable style.

Based in the Black Country, the Shambolics were formed when a group of friends started an open mic night. Through this they met lots of talented musicians who bit by bit joined the band, creating a supergroup with 2 rhythm guitarists, 1 lead guitarist, a harmonica player, a drummer and a bass guitarist. With three part harmonies as standard and four different vocalists, they’ve become the professional function band they are today, well known all over the Black Country for their energetic live shows.

We look forward to welcoming them to future events but if you want a “taster” the following Shambolics Showreel will I’m sure impress and entertain you – look out for the well-known features of the Bonded Warehouse too !

SNT Thanks its Volunteers and Celebrates Achievements

On Friday 1st March SNT hosted a “Thank You” celebration for all of the Trustees and Volunteers who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Bonded Warehouse and its associated buildings / assets are not just well maintained but gradually and continuously improved for the benefit of the Community.

The Chairman, David Caunt, spoke passionately and most sincerely in acknowledging the many significant achievements that the Trust has delivered since it was formed in 1985 to resurrect a derelict estate – this all being down to the commitment and endeavour of a volunteer workforce who give up their time freely to help in many ways by application of their specialist or general skills. David strongly emphasised that “every little helps” and that every single volunteer who had contributed in just a small way to the success of the Trust was valued and appreciated. The Trust is now stable and financially self-sustaining – a pre-requisite for looking after a listed building for which repairs are inevitably expensive. He outlined the plans for the immediate future of the building with roofing repairs to the offices, replacement carpet in the Brindley room and a refurbishment of the ladies toilets all earmarked for attention in 2019, as well as the routine matters needing attention which arise on a regular basis.

Before closing his speech David gave a presentation of a number of wooden hand-crafted rifles to the Stourbridge Army Cadet Force who have aligned with SNT on a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” basis to mutually benefit each other – half of the promised 40 rifles have now been produced and these are being used enthusiastically by the young cadets.

At the end of David’s inspiring speech he invited all to partake of a splendid buffet supper and drinks  from an open bar – this was a good opportunity for volunteers to chat and consolidate friendships whilst considering the future work required to maintain the site.

2018 Santa Trip Boat Success

It’s amazing what a great team of volunteers can achieve and after working on Santa’s Grotto from the end of October right up until the first scheduled Santa Boat Trip the grotto was finally completed – featuring new lights both inside and outside the building, a new “snowy” façade for the display area, new red ‘sparkly’ carpet, a festive display in the weighbridge window (courtesy of Della and Kate) and a host of extras we were ready to commence the busy Christmas schedule of around 40 trips over the 2 weekends leading up to Christmas, a Friday and a session for local schools.

It is a great testimony to the volunteers that Santa’s grotto was modified and improved from previous years despite seasonal colds hitting quite a few of us and Malcolm, a key member of the team, in severe pain from a trapped nerve which limited his physical capability, not that he didn’t try hard despite the pain he endured – well done to him for his commitment to the cause. Ann Pollard had taken responsibility for capably organising people to undertake the various duties required to run the Santa Trips – manning the wharf, steering the Blackcountry Man as well as face-painting, playing the elf and of course Santa was always in demand and under pressure. Volunteers also operated the kitchen, serving welcome hot drinks and seasonal delicacies (weren’t the mince pies great !).The office of course had also been busy with ticket sales coming in thick and fast as Christmas approached and Facebook / Website “adverts” galvanizing interest in this local Santa experience right up until the last day as parents desperately tried to get a place – “book early” is a good idea for the future !

Most of the Trip Boats were in fact fully booked and it was a joy to hear the excited children shouting “we want Santa” as they returned back to the Bonded Warehouse, urged on by John Ganner through his louder than usual P.A. system – and then Santa arrived on his platform at the head of the canal to great delight and cheers by the little ones (and many parents / grand-parents!). So it was almost time to disembark the boat and enter the brightly lit and animated grotto area where patience was a virtue for many as children waited excitedly and with great anticipation for their turn to see Santa whilst being amused by face-painting, family photograph opportunities and looking in wonder at the display area where Thomas the Tank engine and his locomotive friends must have covered many a mile during the course of the annual event.

Santa tells us he enjoyed meeting all of the children and their parents and was able to give out an early Christmas present to those who had been good which was well received by the children who went off happily with their cuddly toy or magic set whilst parents headed for the café for their hot drink and mince pie or stollen.

We hope that everyone who came along enjoyed their visit – the volunteers work so hard to ensure that everyone has a good time and of course the income raised is vital to enabling the Bonded Warehouse to continue to operate for the benefit of the community. We received some wonderful Facebook reviews, recommendations and many “Likes” from some of our visitors but we were particularly pleased with the following well thought out comment from Teresa Hodgetts to whom we as volunteers are understandably most grateful:

“What a lovely Santa trip today – I have two children who have grown up and have visited Santa in many places but not here, what a wonderful experience at an exceptional price. The wait for Santa was in an area lit up with so much to look at. Santa himself was so welcoming and patient with our little one. She has never got close to the big man and usually ends in tears and screams but not today – a testament to Santa. Just goes to show the not so well known places with volunteers can really achieve the ultimate package – Thank you to you all.”

The Photo gallery below provides a pictorial record of the 2018 Santa Boat Trip programme – if anyone has any personal photographs that they would like to share we’d be grateful to receive these via the Bonded Warehouse email address and would happily add them to the Gallery.

Amazingly the volunteer “Tuesday Club” will commence  deconstructing and storing Santa’s grotto and all of the decorations on 8th January whilst Santa has a well earned rest !

Finally on behalf of David Caunt, Chairman of  Stourbridge Navigation Trust, we  would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who bought tickets for our Santa Trips and hope that you all felt it a good, value for money and memorable experience – we’d love to see you again next year ! In the meantime we’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

The Blackcountry Man featured in Towpath Talk

The Blackcountry Man trip boat is pretty well known in the area and many local people would have been onboard but a recent edition of “Towpath Talk” , the ever popular newspaper for canal boat enthusiasts,  recently featured a 2-page spread about the boat, its history and indeed its current role on the Stourbridge Arm.

Here are the extracts for Towpath Talk for your information:

“Black Country people were once the backbone of the Industrial Revolution – foundry workers, miners, glass turners – and the narrowboat with the namesake The Blackcountry Man is a living tribute to the heritage of local people. The Blackcountry Man was built in 1948 by Harris Brothers in Netherton for Stewarts & Lloyds of Halesowen.

It’s thought to be the last full-length 70ft boat built of riveted plates in the Black Country. In its more recent transformation, The Blackcountry Man was fitted with a Lister diesel engine, but was originally unpowered and would have been towed by a tug, a horse, or even the might of a man.

The boat was used for trade on the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) until it changed career to become a maintenance craft for British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust). Like many of the historic canal boats that have survived, The Blackcountry Man’s raison d’être had to be fluid with the times. In 1986 she was spectacularly converted to a passenger-carrying vessel for the Stoke on Trent National Garden Festival with the Queen Mother as prime guest. In 1991 she changed hands and was restored, and spruced up for new purpose in Stourbridge. The boat’s original crews would probably have raised their eyebrows over the addition of some fancies such as soft cushioned seats, side windows, loos, wheelchair access, taped music and (for goodness’ sake) a bar.

In her latest guise, The Blackcountry Man is a trip boat that carries passengers from the distinctive round-walled Bonded Warehouse to Stourton and Kinver. The journey can be enjoyed as a floating escape to the quiet backwaters of the Midlands, or seen as a voyage to discover local heritage or even a brazen excuse to experience this historic boat at intimate quarters. Like many of the best canal treasures, this boat refuses to retire. When the much respected boat operator Mick Bourne retired, Tom Downing and his father Andy took up the baton. Tom became the youngest boat master in the country at the age of 18, and he and his boat, The Blackcountry Man, both became national record breakers with local pride.

Cruises on The Blackcountry Man run from The Bonded Warehouse in Stourbridge along the Stourbridge Arm Canal and the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. They also run special themed cruises and are available for private charter.”

Dates and timings vary and a full schedule of trips for 2019 together with an online Booking Enquiry Form can be found on the Stourbridge Navigation Trust website:

www.thebondedwarehousestourbridge.co.uk

 

Shambolics in the Bonded Warehouse !

Stourbridge Navigation Trust were most grateful to a number of bands who at very short notice filled in over the recent Open Weekend to cover a late cancellation … no panic ! We noticed that one of the bands, The Shambolics, had recorded a video clip in the Brindley Room down at the warehouse and thought that this was newsworthy because despite the room being used for a plethora of purposes, this is the first time, to my knowledge, that a band has made a video clip and posted it onto You Tube for potentially Global digestion.

I must admit that when I heard the band playing in the beer tent (where else !) I was most impressed as clearly the band are talented, technically competent and played some great tunes whilst having a great time – I particularly liked the “bluesy” numbers, though there was something for everyone to enjoy and let their hair down to.

I believe that by helping us out at short notice was mutually beneficial – certainly it solved an embarrassing problem for SNT but also the band promoted themselves really well and received a number of enquiries for potential  bookings – not surprising and much deserved.

Anyway, we hope that you enjoy the short clip which shows the band performing “The Letter” in their own inimitable style in the Bonded Warehouse.

SNT Hit the Airwaves on Black Country Radio 102.5 FM

On the 14th October one our Trustees, Lance Cartwright, guested on “Black Country Matters” – a weekly show hosted by another of the SNT’s Trustees, Dr Paul Collins on Black Country Radio 102.5

During the show a lively dialogue took place with Lance informing listeners in “radio land” about Stourbridge Navigation Trust “a registered charity, comprised of willing and able volunteers of a variety of ages, sex, experience and skills but with one thing in common and that is to ‘look after’ the Bonded Warehouse and the Stourbridge Town Arm to the very best of our ability.

The Trust was originally founded by the Staffs & Worcs Canal Society volunteers who came together to restore the then derelict Bonded Warehouse and rejuvenate the almost unnavigable Stourbridge Arm Canal. This spirit of volunteering has continued for over 40 years although mainly the efforts are now more focused on maintenance rather than restoration as well as developing the facility for use by the community (clubs & societies). All of the work required to maintain the buildings, the site and to manage the community activities is undertaken by a small group of volunteers. “

The Open Weekend was talked about in some detail before the conversation returned to the role of volunteers – “we are always on the look-out for new volunteers with any skills they may have and will be made very welcome by the group of regulars who aren’t necessarily canal boaters but merely wish to get involved with a unique community asset in someway that aligns to their skills, experience and availability.”

Lance and Paul confirmed that if anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer or indeed can bring skills / experience as a Trustee then they should simply pop down for a chat on any Tuesday morning when there will be someone around to describe the volunteering role in more detail. Lance concluded in saying “having been a Trustee for 3 years now I can safely say that Stourbridge Navigation Trust is a worthy organisation and the work is varied and fulfilling, so if there is anyone out there who has for instance just retired and wants to support a local charity then please get in touch“.

 

 

Open Weekend Success

The weather was for once favourable on 20th/21st October for the Stourbridge Navigation Trust’s 2018 Open Weekend down at the Bonded Warehouse in Canal Street where thousands of visitors enjoyed a wonderful weekend of a wide variety of colourful entertainment in Autumnal sunshine.

Around 80 canal boats descended onto the Stourbridge Arm Canal for the event which also included a classic car display, steam engines, amusements, canal boat trips, a fairground organ, for the first time a hog-roast as well as other food outlets, a busy outdoor bar and a craft fair in the Bonded Warehouse. Music was also a theme of the Open Weekend with some quality bands  rocking the enthusiastic audience near the bar.

Stourbridge Navigation Trustee Chris Dyche hailed the event a big success and said “it was a delight to see thousands of local people enjoying all of the amenities which our canal side conservation area has to offer“.

The event was attended by The Mayor of Dudley, Cllr Alan Taylor and his wife Winifred who arrived on the Blackcountry Man boat together with Dudley South MP Mike Wood and ‘top brass’ from the Canal and River Trust.

Chris Dyche went on to add “Our objective at SNT is always to promote Stourbridge’s waterway and its environs for the benefit of everyone. The Trust is now gearing up for its seasonal annual Santa boat trips – Festive waterways outings with Santa will run throughout the day on the 15th/16th December, 22nd/23rd December and on the afternoon of Friday 21st December. Tickets priced at £9 each are now on sale – call 01384 395216 to book your places.”

Stourbridge Navigation Trust would like to thank everyone involved with or attending the Open Weekend for making the event a great success – boaters, musicians, stallholders, vintage car owners, food retailers, bar staff, our volunteers, Stourbridge Army Cadets and of course the local community as a whole who turned up in fine weather in their thousands made the event memorable and Stourbridge proud.

Santa Canal Boat Trips.

We are pleased to announce that Santa has enjoyed a good rest since last year and is already preparing  for his visit to the Bonded Warehouse in 2019 ! (it will soon be here !). He has asked us to let you know when he is coming and looks forward to seeing previous visitors and new children on the following dates:

Santa Trip boats will be running on the following days and times:

   Saturday / Sunday – 14th / 15th December.

  Saturday / Sunday – 21st / 22nd December.

  Monday 23rd December

On each of these full weekend days we will be running boats departing promptly at 10.45am / 11.30am / 12.15pm / 2.00pm / 2.45pm / 3.30pm / 4.15pm and 5.00pm.

On the Monday  trips the first Santa Boat will depart at 10.45am and then at 11.30am / 12.15pm / 2.00pm with the final departure of the season leaving at 2.45pm.

Tickets are priced at £9.50 each (Child: Boat Trip, Santa Experience & Present . Adult: Boat Trip, Santa Experience, Mince Pie and Drink).

Based on last years experience early booking is essential so to reserve your places call the Heide the Trust Manager and Chief Elf on 01384 395216.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

Free parking available onsite.

 

Street Food Affair Video

Stourbridge Navigation Trust who manage the Bonded Warehouse are pleased to work in association with Street Food Affair as we both desire to bring the community together at this unique historic building.

Many of you will know that the monthly Street Food events are now in their second year and have become extremely popular, especially this year aided by the splendid summer weather but there is always something for everyone to enjoy be it the food, drinks, music or bargains in the Twilight market.

At the event in July a number of video clips were professionally taken and the short video record of the event can be seen using the following link – Street Food at the Bonded Warehouse – we hope that you enjoy the video and hope that it will inspire you to come to future events (keep a look out on our Forthcoming Events webpage for dates currently scheduled for the remainder of the year).