Do you know of an organisation that would be interested in taking on the 47-year-old community event?
We initially took on Crafty Craft as a temporary measure until a permanent solution was found after Newbury’s Round Table stepped down after delivering their final event in 2018.
However, organisation of the event falls outside of our remit, as our role is to improve Newbury town centre’s trading environment and support growth for the local business community. Crafty Craft provides the perfect opportunity for a charitable or community-focused organisation to deliver the event as one of their fundraising initiatives. The annual race, which was first established in Newbury in 1974, traditionally takes place in May and brings families, friends, local residents, and businesses together to create rafts and compete in the six-mile stretch along the River Kennet, starting at Kintbury and finishing in Victoria Park.
With the day-to-day project management and event logistics, the event will be a challenge but also an exciting opportunity for any organisation willing to adopt it. In addition, each year, the event organisers will be responsible for selecting the race’s theme, which changes annually and is usually coordinated to align with other national, or even international events taking place that year.
In 2020 whilst under our recent management, the ‘Japan’ themed event (in line with the upcoming Olympics scheduled that same summer), was cancelled for the first time due to Covid-19. In 2021, the event not only took on a particularly poignant ‘NHS Heroes’ theme but also went virtual for the first time. With national restrictions in place at the time, it was not viable for participants from mixed households to get together to build their rafts ahead of the annual event – a process that teams would usually start several months before.
Alison Drummond, our Operations Manager, says: