October 14 2020

Duncan Aspinall, Chair of Coach Commission and Director of Holmeswood Coaches, writes about his role as Chair, the vital role of the coach industry in society, and the importance of remaining passionate.

I have somehow recently become Chair of the Coach Commission.  When volunteers were asked to step forward it was definitely a case of me being too slow when everyone hit reverse.  I have since then been asked to write a ‘blog’.  It was suggested that I should write about what the role entails, that I should consider the vital role of the coach within the UK, and what my hopes are for the future.

The first thing I turned to was Google, to find out what a blog is.  As you might have guessed I do not do a lot of social media.  A mobile phone to me is a work tool and when it rings it usually means there is a problem.  If we are lucky it is in the UK and not across the Channel.

One of the first definitions I came across was that a blog is a way to ‘Publish your passions your way’ and an opportunity to ‘share your knowledge, experiences or the latest news.’  Firstly, people from the North do not generally tend to share their passions.  Secondly it is often better to keep quiet as there is usually someone around who does know more than you.  Thirdly, if you do not spread news carefully and accurately, then it is simply gossip.

Over the last few unprecedented (and that is a word I have really started to dislike) months of working with the National Coach Commission I have come to realise that everyone involved, whether they admit it or not, is passionate about what they do and about giving their time.  Many varying opinions are shared, but this is essential since we all run our own businesses in different ways with no two of them the same.  However long we have been in the industry we can always learn something new, sometimes through the most surprising sources so it usually pays me to listen more and talk less.  As far as sharing the latest news is concerned, and to be fair, the team at CPT head office have worked extremely hard over the last six months to keep us, their members, as up to date as we can be, and even ahead of the game in some cases. 

When it comes to the vital role of our great industry, I still don’t think (personally) that the ‘authorities’ fully understand the impact we have on society, that it is the least independent that we carry, and that without us, those who are most vulnerable will be even more isolated.   They still don’t understand what we do so we fall through the cracks however hard everyone tries.  It is essential that we ALL keep banging the drum about this.  We HAVE to be passionate about what we do or we will just get overlooked again as the decision makers are distracted by those around us making more noise or with a higher profile.  Our team at CPT head office cannot do this without ALL the members, large or small, getting involved.

Finally, the future is certain to be different whatever we might wish for.  My hopes and prayers are that our incredibly resilient industry rises to the surface again and that, when we learn to live with our new future, we can be truly recognised for the environmentally friendly, socially inclusive, economically efficient, essential services that we provide. (How on earth can you keep this subject to 400 words)

You can find Holmeswood Coaches on Twitter @hwoodcoaches and visit their website to find out more about them holmeswoodcoaches.com