Friends of Chichester Harbour – Chairman’s report – 2020

2020 has been an extremely difficult year for everyone, and for the Friends a rather frustrating one.

Our winter period is generally quiet, so apart from a few events and work parties we did little in the period preceding the COVID-19 lockdown.

Once the lockdown was announced it was inevitable that all our activities would be suspended.  Since February there have been no work parties, no events and no Terror sailings.  As I write there are some Volunteer Ranger tasks going on but there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and we have no idea when normality will resume and we can carry on with our work.

There will be a huge backlog of tasks once we do resume, as the normal maintenance tasks have not been done, and there has been a considerable increase in activity round the harbour, some of which like cycling on unsuitable footpaths has caused damage that will be costly to repair

During lockdown the Harbour featured on Countryfile, and as I wrote in the newsletter this was an excellent way of getting over the issues we face.  Dr Corina Ciocan who featured at the end of the programme is a good friend to the harbour, and is someone we are working closely with the extend her research and move to full field trials.

One of the key things we did during lockdown was survey our members.  We had an excellent response, and the key concerns of our members are water quality, plastics pollution and general environment.  We will elaborate in more depth, but essentially, we will continue with that focus.

 

Our second area of work is funding projects, and of particular note is the new boat pump out facility at Itchenor, the Chidham footpath repairs and the continuing support of the education team.

Sadly during 2020 our Treasurer, Andrea Steer, has stood down as treasurer and trustee.  She made an enormous difference in the way we run our finances, implementing a financial management system, and formalising our forecasting and budgeting.  Her legacy will be considerable, and I am enormously grateful to her for her time, energy and commitment.  She was also a very “activist” treasurer and drove a number of key initiatives which will have a long reach.

On a sad note, our long standing accounts examiner, George Nash died during the summer.  He had been a great help to the Friends, and provided his services just for a bottle of wine.  We have sent our condolences to his family, and will be appointing a new examiner this side of Christmas.

Finally, I would like to welcome Alison Isaac as the Friends Administrator.  She has already made an enormous difference to the way in which we administer ourselves, and will enable us as trustees to focus on strategic matters rather than internal administration.  I would also like to thank Ali Beckett for our newsletter.

Thank you all for supporting the Harbour and our work in it.  We always need new members so please encourage friends, family and neighbours to join.

Oliver Chipperfield

Chairman