Celebrating 50 Years of CTA Member Midsomer Norton & Radstock
by Bill Freeman
On Friday 28 April 2017 CTA’s Chief Executive, Bill Freeman, took part in an event to celebrate 50 years of Midsomer Norton & Radstock Community Service Vehicle Trust. The blog is an extract from Bill’s speech where he talks about what helps sustain an organisation for such a long time.
“On behalf of the whole community transport movement across the UK I congratulate you all for the difference you have made in the lives of the many people in your community that you have served and we wish you well for the future.
In getting ready for today I was thinking about what it means to do something for 50 years.
For some reason a scene from Only Fools and Horses popped into my mind. Fans of the programme may remember the classic scene when Trigger claims that he’s had his road sweeper’s broom for 20 years. But then goes on to reveal that the broom has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles.
So I think this was telling me that the 50 year history of an organisation is a bit like Trigger’s broom. What might seem like one thing is actually many things. Your history is a collection and combination of the efforts and energy of all the people down the years who have stopped off on their own life journey to be part of this amazing thing that you do. We celebrate each and every one of you and them today.
So what keeps you going for 50 years?
You need passion. This means believing in something so much that you don’t let anything be a barrier to you. And also believing in something so much that you motivate others to care about the same things as you and to get involved themselves.
You need values – dearly held principles that colour every thought and action. Over the last 50 years our political landscape has changed many times over, regulations have evolved, public attitudes and preferences about transport have changed, and funding has changed.
We are guided through all this by the continual presence of our values – they help us answer big questions, focus on the most important things and tell us which way to turn when we face a fork in the road.
Thirdly, you need to be both a pragmatist and an optimist– dealing with the world as you find it and believing that something can always be done. Yes, we have our principles but we have to be practical and tactical to get things done.
And you also need to be resilient – seeing what’s on the horizon and being ready for it. So many things can happen that give us a reason to give up, but we never throw our hands up and say nothing can be done. Our cause and our calling will always be bigger than any barrier put in front of us.
The final thought I want to leave you with is this. We all talk about money, vehicles, and permits as if they are the things that matter most- but it is the passion, imagination and tenacity of good people doing great work which makes the biggest difference. Whilst resources are finite – passion, imagination and tenacity are not.
It is a pleasure and privilege to spend my days meeting good people with big hearts who have come together to do great things – people who could have put their time and talents to any use they liked, but instead chose to channel their passion, imagination and tenacity into enriching the lives of others through delivering community transport.
So here’s to the first 50 years of Midsomer Norton & Radstock Community Service Vehicle Trust and long may it continue!”
Community Transport Association UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Cardiff no. 1985361 Registered office: 12 Hilton Street M1 1JF. Registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1002222. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC038518.