The aims and objectives of River Legacy have ebbed and flowed over the years, both in response to events going on around us and as a result of the various characters who have become entwined with the Legacy and helped shape it into what it is today.
Our main objective has always been the promotion of better river access by means of land purchase. This has been a bit of a dream of Steve’s for many years – raising money as a result of running big paddling events and using profit to buy land adjacent to rivers. Potentially this could include things like buying an area of land to use as a shuttle car park, building steps down to the water to reduce soil erosion caused by paddlers clambering down the bank, or just buying additional land next to existing access to increase the area that people can use to get to the water.
In the early years River Legacy did not always manage to break even with its events, let alone make a profit, for which there are numerous reasons. If you have a look at the history page, you may begin to see why. High water levels, foot and mouth outbreaks and several inches of snow have had a lot to answer for. Events cost money, and although a multitude of individuals and organisations out there have helped us and people have paid to come along to the events we run, our outgoings are probably a lot larger than you think. We have to pay for camping facilities, water supply, heating, lighting, toilets, equipment hire and fees, transport to the site of all kit, electrical consumables, safety cover by qualified rescue teams, St John’s Ambulance cover, bar hire, catering facilities, insurance, security, party wristbands, publicity… The list goes on. Sometimes we haven’t had much left over after we’ve settled our outgoings.
More recently however, things have been a lot more positive, with the notable success and popularity of our three main events – The Teifi Tour, Polzeath Surf Kayak Weekend and the National Student Rodeo. The success of these events over the last five years have allowed River Legacy to donate over £9000 to paddlesports related facilities projects (as of March 2011).
River Legacy want to see the size and frequency of our events continue to grow, and build upon our successes, so that we are able to put more and more back into paddlesport in the future. Over the years, hundreds of people have enjoyed the spirit of our events, and for many these have been a brilliant introduction to the paddling community and the experiences our sport can bring. Not to mention the business that these events draw to local towns and villages at a time of year when the tourism industry is at its annual low.
So, what exactly do we do? Well, to get to the nitty-gritty…
The aim of River Legacy is to organise and contribute to events for paddlers in collaboration with groups and communities, where kayakers and canoeists from all over the country can meet and exchange ideas, yarns and experiences and enjoy the spirit of paddlesport.
Where profit is made at these events, the River Legacy aims to put this straight back into our sport, either through donations to improve the physical accessibility of rivers, or towards improving the quality of next event that we run – preferably both.
Over the years we have gradually accumulated our own equipment, thus reducing costs of hiring things in and transporting them long distances. This has included the purchase of a new PA system, masses of marquees, the rolling pool and the stage, all of which have helped to make the famous River Legacy parties a more enjoyable experience. There have been many milestones along the way, and we are proud of what we have achieved since our relatively small beginnings.
River Legacy believes that – aside from legislation – there is no one-stop-shop solution to improving facilities, opportunities and access for paddlers, and that a multi-pronged approach is more likely to have an effect. We believe that the fulfilment of our aims is just one “prong” in the bigger picture, to which many other great organisations contribute in a positive way. The River Legacy agrees with the current drive towards better access for all, and if financial support can also help with these issues, we would like to contribute where we can. Our events are organised with the cooperation of local people, businesses and organisations in such a way that we are able to maintain good relationships with other river users, whilst raising the profile of paddlers and the issues they face within the wider community.
In the long run we hope the paddling situation in this country is improved considerably, so that all river users can benefit from what is a valuable natural resource. We also hope that opportunities for paddlers generally will increase and develop in the future. In the mean time, we hope that the events we run and the contributions we make will go a long way towards this goal, and we hope that you will support and join us in this endeavour.