A Busy life on the Broads

WWC Mike Cadman writes from the Norfolk Broads…

WWC was introduced as ‘if you have a problem or want to talk to someone the Waterways Chaplains are available to help on the Broads’. Kirsteen, the radio host, asked about what we were doing and how things had developed and I was able to talk about connecting in with the Broads Authority and Broads Beat and having referrals from them and others to support those in need.

My colleague Angie Baldwin and I had been interviewed on the ‘religious programme’ on the Sunday morning last August just after we had really got under way as the new Broads ‘Hub’ of Waterways Chaplains – all two of us, part of the East of England Chaplaincy Hub. There had been articles about us and WWC in the Network Norfolk Christian Website and that is how BBC Radio Norfolk had got to hear about us.

This interview was a follow up, but on the normal breakfast show which each week runs an item on people who are part of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Community and this was our turn. Due to a hiccup on phone numbers Angie was unable to be there so I did the interview alone.

I stated how busy really it had been and that there was always someone happy to talk. Most importantly, I mentioned that we had worked throughout the lockdown as providing charitable social care but with social distancing of course to safeguard everyone involved. however, we also direct holiday makers to boatyards, shops and so on.  Support was really the main thrust of the interview and being available for people.  

We have been invited to the Broads Beat Hub meeting to network with local organisations as this was the first time practical, pastoral work was active in the Broads. We have been supporting two boaters whose boats had sunk – a recent challenge and although we had no funds just being there as a back up and being available to talk and listen was a real benefit to these people and follow up continued.  One of these boaters is actually borrowing my generator this week as he works on his (now afloat again) house boat.

I was asked to identify the most challenging things done. Well, recently the referral from the Broads Authority of another boater D, concerned his mental health. I visited him and he had no power and it was very cold and he had no heat or gas canister for his heater. Thankfully, just up the river was another boater, T, whose teeth (I am a dentist) I had sorted a few weeks before having met him on a walk at Loddon. His teeth are fine now, and we meet up sometimes. T had one gas canister the same size, I knew he had the same type of heater, and he gave it to me and there on a remote river bank on the Norfolk Broads God provided heat for D. He was amazed “Where did you get that?”  “This is your miracle for today,” I told him and it was such a boost to his morale. We were able to provide more canisters the next day and his engine is now repaired after we were able to help with that too.

A great testimony and the final comment ‘the Broads is a great community and it is so good to be part of it’.