Our boats provide generously subsidised canal trips for groups of up to 12 people (including leaders) from a wide range of community groups including children and young people in one (or more) of the following categories:
- Those with learning disabilities
- Those from disadvantaged or difficult backgrounds
- Young carers
- Those at local Children’s Hospices
- Refugee groups
- Those affected by or at risk of gang warfare and knife crime
- Those excluded or at risk of exclusion from school.
We also work with groups of elderly and isolated people including those with mental health issues and those with dementia, and we work with young people with special needs and those moving into independent living.
The Angel Boat and Long Tom both provide a safe, secure, and caring environment.
On residential trips, in particular, participants gain positive outcomes by being exposed to new and sometimes challenging, but fun, experiences which means they:
- Experience new environments. For many of the youngsters, used only to urban living in high-rise flats, our trips are the first time they have been to the countryside and experienced green fields, farm animals and wildlife, and to see stars in the night sky, usually obscured by city light pollution
- Learn new practical skills: how to steer the boat and operate locks, and share in domestic tasks
- Learn life skills: mixing with new people, team working, communication and giving and receiving instructions as when working the boat through locks, living together in a close and confined environment, planning, preparing and cooking meals
- Learn more about themselves: their natural strengths and motivators, thereby building confidence and helping them realise their potential
- Learn about the extensive flora and fauna of the canal environment and the ecological balance and importance of environmental conservation, including living on a boat with finite water and power availability, as well as the history of the canal system
- Meet the communities who live and work on and around the inland waterways
- Experience new ways to spend their free time, away from television and computer games, through boat-based and on-shore activities: swimming, bowling, canoeing, sailing, visiting places of interest and the cinema, and making a video record of their trip.
On board either of our boats, the youngsters are able to confide in the skipper/crew and the group’s leaders. We can point them in the right direction to get extra help where needed. Past experience has shown us that just five days can provide a life-changing experience.
Under the guidance of our skipper, all users have the opportunity:
- to experience the fun and activity of a canal cruise
- to learn about the history and development of their local area and London through the inland waterways
- to see the extensive flora and fauna of the canal environment and understand the ecological balance
- to relax and enjoy the company of others.
- to make new friends
Virtually everyone enjoys a cruise on a canal boat and the fun of helping operate a narrowboat 72 feet long along the canal and through locks and tunnels. And that enjoyment can easily be combined with practical learning, whether curriculum-based or about the environment, or about people living and working together. For schools we offer our GOAL project (in conjunction with the London Canal Museum) see Schools’ Project and on a residential trip we offer our BOATS course, see Summer Residential Project.
The Angel Boat has also developed (sometimes in partnership with other local organisations) various projects using our canal boat and the Regent’s Canal.