Bargees celebrating 10 years

Published: Friday, 26 April 2019

The National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) is 10 years old this year, writes Nick Brown.

Since its formation in 2009 by a small group of Bargee Travellers facing eviction, it has been active in defending and supporting boat dwellers throughout the inland waterways.

Resisted attempts to get rid

Since 2009 the NBTA has contested the attempts of navigation and local authorities to get rid of Bargee Travellers and has campaigned for the interests of itinerant boat dwellers.

It has done this by publishing information and raising awareness among boat dwellers of their rights and how to exercise them; by casework supporting individual boat dwellers facing enforcement or denial of their rights; by training volunteer caseworkers; by lobbying central and local Government; by lobbying and negotiation with navigation and local authorities; and by non-violent demonstrations in support of boat dwellers.

Annual General Meeting

Tommorrow,  Saturday 27th April 2019 the NBTA will hold its 10th anniversary Annual General Meeting in Leeds, starting at 11am. This will be followed by an afternoon of workshops, action planning, speakers and films. In the evening there will be live music. The event will take place at Wharf Chambers, 23-25 Wharf St, Leeds LS2 7EQ.

A 'Boats Are Homes' demonstration in London will follow on 24th May 2019 starting with a rally on the Grand Union Canal next to Paddington Station at 1pm and marching to the Canal & River Trust office at Little Venice, handing out leaflets to the public.

Paddington Party and Rally

On Saturday 25th May at 12 noon the NBTA’s Paddington Party and Rally will begin on the canal near Paddington station. This will include activities for children and a flotilla with banners on boats to let the public know that boats are homes and to oppose the gentrification of the waterways. Paddington has seen years of gentrification and increasing lengths of public towpath being converted to business use.

These changes to the waterways do not benefit the majority of public users, especially those who live aboard. There are ever increasing ‘no mooring’ areas, reductions in mooring time limits and removal of public mooring space. Yet Canal & River Trust has plans for new mooring restrictions, more ‘no mooring’ signs, more business moorings and ever greater moves to make the waterways a place for profit not people.

The NBTA, as a community that lives on the waterways, opposes these towpath grabs. Join us as we act to stop the waterways becoming a business park for profiteers.

Towpath gathering