As 2016 draws to a close, I want to draw your attention to what the Ramblers have been doing across Inner London this year and look forward to some things next year.

 

If you've not got the time to read the rest of this note, do consider doing the following:

 

  1. Vote for the Love London, Walk London campaign in the Ramblers Volunteer Awards - http://www.ramblers.org.uk/volunteer-zone/rewarding-our-volunteers/volunteer-awards-2016.aspx
  2. Think about coming to the Inner London Ramblers AGM at Bloomsbury Baptist Church on the 4th of February.  You can find out more about it later in this e-mail and at http://www.innerlondonramblers.org.uk/articles-62328/notice-of-agm.html.

 

Inner London Area co-ordinates the Ramblers local groups, and takes on tasks that are too big for those groups.  We continue to 'punch above our weight' in the national organisation and, this year, we've had a focus on campaigning. 

 

Local groups have had a number of successes in keeping or re-opening paths in their boroughs.  London members and groups have supported national campaigns, such as Pathwatch, which have brought the Ramblers great publicity and given us vital information for campaigning with.

 

Love London, Walk London Campaign

 

In May, London elected a new Mayor and Greater London Assembly.  To increase the Ramblers' visibility to Londoners and their representatives, we worked with staff from Central Office and the Ramblers Greater London Forum (a body drawing together Ramblers volunteers from Outer London groups) to call on the new Mayor to promote active walking through a 'Walking Ambassador', improve walking routes and guarantee Londoners' access to green space.

 

During the campaign, two Mayoral candidates - Caroline Pidgeon [Liberal Democrat] and Sian Berry [Green] accepted our invitations to join us for walks and to discuss our campaign.  Both were elected to the GLA. 

 

At the main 'green' hustings, Sadiq Khan spoke approvingly of the Ramblers historic campaign for our Right to Roam in the countryside and suggested that we need something similar in London.  In his manifesto, he promised a "Pedestrian Champion".

 

After the election, we carried on campaigning, including having a very useful meeting with the Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, urging that the Pedestrian Champion should be about all sorts of walking, not just pedestrianism.  Just before Christmas, the Mayor announced the appointment of his "Walking and Cycling Commissioner" and we look forward to working with him when he takes up his post.

 

You can find out more about this campaign on the Inner London Ramblers web site at http://www.innerlondonramblers.org.uk/current-campaigns/london-votes-2016.html

 

This campaign has been nominated for a national Ramblers volunteer award for Innovation.  Do vote for it at http://www.ramblers.org.uk/volunteer-zone/rewarding-our-volunteers/volunteer-awards-2016.aspx

 

The Garden Bridge Campaign

 

Because of the threat it represents to the Thames Path and public spaces on both sides of the river, we continue to oppose the proposed Garden Bridge campaign.  During the year, we took a high profile in a number of campaign events.  In particular, I represented the Ramblers at a large public meeting, and the Ramblers position was referred to by both sides in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons.

 

Naturally, we raised the issue of the Garden Bridge at our meeting with the Deputy Mayor.  The campaign has been quiet since Mayor Khan appointed Margaret Hodge to chair an inquiry into the project.  This, and the Garden Bridge Trust's delayed annual report are expected to appear in the next few months, which should prove decisive in this campaign.

 

Find out more about the Ramblers part in the campaign against the Garden Bridge here - http://www.innerlondonramblers.org.uk/current-campaigns/oppose-the-garden-bridge.html

 

Membership

 

Inner London continues to buck the national membership trend by growing.  By growing our membership, we have more weight in campaigns, more volunteers to organise walks.  We grow incrementally by making our groups attractive places to be, publicising our activities, and making new people welcome. 

 

Our experience is that the best (and most fun) way to make a significant change in our membership is by starting new groups.  If you've an idea for a group you want to form, do let me know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Annual General Meeting

 

We'll be having our Annual General Meeting at the Bloomsbury Baptist Church on Saturday 4th of February*.  There will be a walk to the meeting from Holland Park.  In addition to the usual formal business (including electing my successor as Chair), there will be a short film and a talk by Travis Elborough, author of "A Walk in the Park". 

 

As usual, all of the roles on the Area Council will be up for election - Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Web Master, representatives of affiliated groups and individual members, General Council representatives. 

 

If you're interested in getting involved with Area Council or any of the activities we do, do get in touch.  You can find out more about the AGM at http://www.innerlondonramblers.org.uk/30-articles/agm/138-2017-annual-general-meeting-agenda.html

 

 

 

As usual, nothing we've done in London could have happened without the effort and commitment of the hundreds of Ramblers members who organise walks, sit on committees, produce programmes, staff publicity stalls, engage other organisations to make common cause, and so on.  Thank you to everyone who's helped the Ramblers in Inner London this year.

 

I hope you have a lovely Christmas break and a successful 2017.

 

Phil Marson (Chair, Inner London Ramblers)

*Amended 7th January 2017 from "April".  The date given earlier in the letter was correct.