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Urban Conclave: If you've ever felt discouraged....

We were fortunate to secure supporting funding from the Fishmongers' Company which allowed us to subsidise attendance at our biennial event in support of Trout in the Town project leaders. Brilliantly hosted by Salford Friendly Anglers; the theme for this year's Urban River Champions' Conclave was "Resilience". It is a characteristic that urban rivers can show in spades. It is also something that every volunteer - and especially every person who takes on the responsibility to run an urban project - needs to have buckets of.

However, everyone involved in these labours of love will experience real low points. It can get to feel like a hopeless cause in the face of external opposition as well as internal group tensions.

This was the reason that I asked Philip Sheridan to give the keynote address at this year's Conclave - for reasons that will become clear when you watch his presentation. Phil not only kindly agreed to speak, but also allowed us to reproduce his talk in the video below. I think that I am right in saying that, after a fairly standard opening paragraph or two for an urban trout stream restoration presentation, the audience was completely unprepared for the directions that Phil subsequently took.

Phil's wonderful talk is a reflective and personal journey that starts with an appreciation of a recovering post-industrial river, but moves through some surprising and very moving territory covering Phil's travels as a teenager, his work in helping the recovery of abused children, a near fatal accident and post traumatic stress as well as his own gruelling road to recovery. If you have ever felt that the circumstances of life have prevented you from reaching your goals, Phil's talk will provide inspirational pause for thought. He was certainly an inspiration to me as the conference organiser and on top of that - just like all the other contributors - made my job very easy by giving a fantastic presentation.

Get yourself a brew and a biscuit and give yourself a chance to absorb his presentation in the video below - it could change your life...




Phil also produced a handout that gives guidance on cultivating your own resilience. It is reproduced below so that anyone who needs it can refer to the list at any time:

I would like to suggest 10 ways to support and promote resilience for yourselves and your groups gleaned from various sources that support this:


  1. Build your wealth in good relationships
  2. Crisis can bring opportunity with it
  3. Identify and accept the circumstances that you cannot change
  4. Set realistic goals then take steady steps toward them
  5. When adversity strikes take decisive action - always do one more thing
  6. Celebrate the small wins
  7. Take pride in your efforts
  8. Keep an eye on the broader context
  9. Be hopeful - expect success - be analytical if it doesn't come
  10. Take a break



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