Newbury Crafty Craft is seeking a new organiser for 2022 onwards!

Crafty Craft raft

 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:  

While we have enjoyed our short time as the event organiser for Newbury’s traditional Crafty Craft race, now is the right time for a new community-based organisation or charity to take on this exciting fundraising opportunity.

Crafty Craft is a fabulous social occasion enjoyed by friends, families and co-workers. However, as a small team of three whose key objective is to support the growth of the local business community, we simply do not have the capacity or resources to deliver this annual event.

The future of this popular event is at risk, and we encourage organisations to come forward to help ensure the 47-year-old local tradition can continue. Crafty Craft sadly will not happen in 2022 if a new organiser isn’t found soon, as several months of preparation and planning will be required for the event. Our mission to find a new organiser has so far drawn a blank and we are now making a final appeal to the wider community to help save Crafty Craft!

Please click here to express your interest if your organisation may be able to deliver Crafty Craft from 2022 onwards. 

For a list of all events taking place in Newbury town centre and beyond, please click here.

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