Idle Women: Recreating the Journey

£1,774 of £2,222 goal

Raised by 37 people in 5 months
During the second world war there was plenty of work for the working boats on the canals, but not enough good crews. So the Women’s Training Scheme was born – young women who took on 72ft boats and 50 tons of cargo.

This year, we (Heather Wastie and Kate Saffin as Alarum Theatre) have been touring a double bill ‘Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways’ along the canals of the West Midlands. We have been whisking audiences in pub gardens, historic dry docks, cafes and marquees back to the 1940s to hear the stories of those women.

Next year, we plan to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the start of the scheme, when trainer Eily (Kit) Gayford began her learning with working boaters Ciss and Albert Sibley, before going on to train many others as part of the scheme. We will recreate the regular journey (London, Birmingham, Coventry, London) made by the trainees who, shortly after the war, became known as The Idle Women, a nickname that has stuck ever since. We’ll be performing the show in venues along the route, plus, in Milton Keynes and Birmingham offering some extra events such as writing or reminiscence workshops – all linked to the stories of the canal around the war.

And to make the journey a little more special, and to give women a chance to experience something of the life of the trainees, we're going to make the journey with an historic narrow boat, NB Tench. Her skipper and crew will all be women and we need your help to cover the running costs (diesel, insurance and additional boat safety requirements) as well as travel expenses for the skippers and crew. They will be experienced boatwomen. As well as moving the boat we hope they will welcome and support women from the communities we visit (and perform in) who come to visit the boat and experience something of the life of a trainee. If we achieve more than the £1600 running costs we'll be able to extend our activities on the boat and invite more women from the local communities we're visiting to come and experience some time on the boat.

We're planning to make the journey over 3-4 months from April-July and we'd love your help. As well as contributing to our fundraising you can sign up to join us for a stretch of the journey to help crew Tench. Find out how the planning is coming along and join our mailing list for updates on our website www.alarumtheatre.co.uk

Your valued support will fund:

Fuel for boat
£500.00
Public liability insurance
£385.00
Volunteer travel expenses
£875.00
A banner for the boat: to help spread the word
£462.00
Total
£2,222
 

If you have suggestions for venues or would like to discuss other ways you can join in, please contact us via our website. The show is also available to book for your local cruising club, IWA gathering or waterway festival.

Thank you for your help. Look forward to seeing you at one of our shows next year!

Kate and Heather
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Update 5
Posted by Kate Saffin
8 days ago
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It's been a busy old time here at Alarum HQ but we are just about ready to set off next week! It has come round so fast. NB Tench has been making her way down to Bull's Bridge for the start with Alex and Heather at the tiller - and some of the young London boat women joined in over the weekend and had a great time. We're looking forward to welcoming many more women on #TheIdleWomen tour.

Here's Team Tench at Fishery Wharf at the weekend.
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Update 4
Posted by Kate Saffin
1 month ago
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We've been very busy booking venues and shows on the route - we now have nearly 50, more than we had anticipated, with inquiries still arriving. All very exciting but it will increase some of the costs connected to running the boat as the tour is now 15 weeks, not the 12 we had originally planned.

At the same time we have had two very generous donations from the Northamptonshire IWA and Thrupp Canal Cruising Club which will not only help cover those costs but have enabled us to extend the target to £2,222 (neat that!) to help us commission a banner for Tench so that no one who meets us en route will be in any doubt about what we are up to!

Thank you again for your donation and we look forward to meeing you on our journey.
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Update 3
Posted by Kate Saffin
2 months ago
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We have reached the half way mark! And learned that our bid to the Arts Council was successful and they have offered us a grant. It will help us take the trainees stories to a wider audience - doesn't do away with the need for this crowdfunding though, as more shows and venues means more work for Tench. So, thank you all again for your support. We're looking forward to meeting you out on the tour.
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Update 2
Posted by Kate Saffin
3 months ago
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We haven't been pushing our fundraising for a few weeks - we thought everyone would be thinking about Christmas rather than next summer. But 2017 has arrived and it's time to start work on the planning again. Heather and I have been visiting some interesting and unusual venues around Birmingham - you'll be able to see the show at Titford Pumphouse on June 10th for example, as well as at Minerva Wharf and several historic canalside pubs. Thank you again for your support - do feel free to share us!
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£1,774 of £2,222 goal

Raised by 37 people in 5 months
Created November 8, 2016
JM
£30
Jane Middis
8 days ago
CJ
£10
Charles Jenkins
14 days ago
PC
£10
Pam Curtis
1 month ago
NI
£500
Northants IWA
1 month ago (Offline Donation)

We're looking forward to seeing the show at our annual rally in May

TC
£250
Thrupp Canal Cruising Club
1 month ago (Offline Donation)

This is such a worthwhile project, bringing to life the epic times the Idle Women encountered during the war.

£30
Anonymous
1 month ago
MK
£30
Maarja Kaaristo
1 month ago
£10
Anonymous
2 months ago
£20
Cristóbal Pizarro
2 months ago
LJ
£15
Lanna Joffrey
2 months ago
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