|KUSU Sub-Aqua and Kayaking Club Volunteers|
Myself: “Soooo, Tom”
Tom (our beloved Diving Officer): “No.”
Myself: “Hey, I haven’t even said anything yet!”
Tom: “You’re right, my bad, go on.”
Myself: “I was thinking…”
….and so forth.
In all seriousness, I had a good idea, possibly a great idea……but it was a tiny bit ambitious.
I have volunteered through KUSU Volunteering before and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’ve helped paint a school gym and cut down Christmas trees etc and it’s been great….but. That’s been my problem. But….
You see I’m a SCUBA diver. I love diving. I love teaching it and I love the fact that from time to time, people even pay me to do it and what I really, really wanted, was a way to use my sport to do something... to make a difference, as well as shine some positive light onto KUSU.
So I had this idea. I’ve been underwater in parts of the Thames before – acting as a Rescue Diver for charity swim races, including Human Race swims and The Big Swim – and while I’d been under I’d often seen bits of litter and debris down there. So I figured that my club could put some divers into the water, pull some junk out and then bask in the praise that would be due us. After all, how hard could it be?
Quite hard as it turns out. Why I ask questions like that, I have no idea.
What I’m hoping, right now, as you read this, is that you’ve got an idea. An idea that you can’t quite bring yourself to suggest to people because obviously it’s crazy. Or an organisational nightmare. Or (shudder) might involve that most terrifying of beasts – whisper it, health and safety. So here is my advice to you;
If I took nothing else away from The Great River Clean of
2012, it was this; that every time I found an obstacle that prevented me from
going ahead, there was someone to help me past it. Don’t get me wrong, there
was a lot of work involved. It was an ambitious idea after all. But the simple
truth is that if you have the enthusiasm and the patience to make your idea
happen, then it can.
|Volunteers from KUSU Netball, Ladies Football, American Football, KUSCO, KUBAG, Veolia and Thames 21.|
Chris Elliott the student who created this project can be seen top row on the right hand side.
When I needed help slaying the health and safety Daemons, I was able to get advice from the British Sub-Aqua Club and from KUSU Volunteering Co-ordinator Jemma Houghton. When it turned out that I needed to write a Method Statement to get permission, Lynsey Stafford from Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group (KUBAG) showed me how (if you’re thinking “what on earth is a method statement” then believe me, I sympathise). Surface cover on the river – the Kayaking club offered their support. Shore support? Thames 21, a local river cleaning charity offered us training, equipment and advice. When I needed help working with the council, Jana Bentley at KUSCO opened doors, as well as invited Veolia Environnement to provide both skips and manpower for the day. More manpower needed onshore – Susie KUSU Sports Co-ordinator mobilised assistance from the Netball, Ladies Football and American Football clubs. Diving equipment and transport needed; local Dive shop Aquanauts SCUBA and Snorkelling Centre provided. No parking available; the Royal Bank of Scotland the Co-Operative Bank and Hart’s Boatyard supplied. Private space to raise money for RNLI; the Ram in Kingston let us use their back garden. Problems, problems, problems. Solutions, support, assistance.
|Bucket collection for RNLI.|
|Two skips full of rubbish pulled out of the Thames in Kingston|