Milton Keynes Community Boat!

The Trust is planning a 12-passenger, accessible, fully-electric 54-foot narrowboat to be launched later in 2020.

Visual of the new Milton Keynes Community Boat

Managed and run by volunteers, the boat will operate out of the new Campbell Wharf development in the heart of Milton Keynes and run trips on the Grand Union Canal towards Cosgrove or Fenny Stratford. These will include public cruises, private charters, seasonal specials and ‘park & parish' cruises, for local communities along the 11-mile lock-free canalscape.

The project is inspired by the success of the John Bunyan boat in Bedford and informed by the experience of other Trusts running 12-passenger trip boats.

Droitwich Canals’ 12-seater electric boat Pamela May

Project Partners

The Milton Keynes Community Boat is generously supported by Crest Nicholson/Campbell Wharf, The Parks Trust, and Milton Keynes Community Foundation.

What will the MK boat be like?

The boat will be one of the first all-electric community narrowboats in the country, giving passengers the unique experience of gliding along the water. People can take relaxed time out in nature; see the city landscape, art and parks from a different angle, and find out about the BMK Waterway Park at its starting point in Milton Keynes.

These photos of Halseyon Days, courtesy of the Baldwin Trust, give an idea of what the layout will be like.

Why is the Trust doing this?

The Milton Keynes Community Boat will give the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust a presence at the heart of the city, in the newly developed Campbell Wharf area.

The boat will cruise on the Grand Union canal through eleven parishes and many areas of parkland, where it will:

          • raise the profile of the Trust at the western end of the route
          • bring in new Trust members and volunteers in Milton Keynes
          • raise additional funds to enable the work of the Trust
          • enable residents and visitors to make more use of the canal and the parks it runs through
          • help to improve the canalscape and increase community activity along the route
          • demonstrate the local health, economic and social benefits that waterway parks can bring

Please help to float the MK Boat!

The Milton Keynes Community Boat will cost £140,000, plus £15,000 to get the boat fully equipped, crew qualified, and all operations set up ready to trade.

Trust members came up trumps with the Appeal this spring, and have (in round terms) provided £10K in donations and gift aid, and £20K in 5-year interest free loans.

We believe that, overall, funding for boat construction is now secure, although this is still not 100% certain, and the Trust is awaiting final confirmation. The specification of the boat is now agreed so the project is ready to go, just as soon as we get the green light on funding. The boatbuilders had closed for several weeks, but are now back at work, using all the government guidelines for safe working practices. Watch this space!

We are still bidding for funds to cover the £15,000 equipment, training and set-up costs, and individual/group donations towards this will be very gratefully received.

Every donation helps.

Donations can be made here online; these can be Gift Aided too.

Support for the project at the first public meeting, attended by Milton Keynes Mayor Cllr Sam Crooks

Volunteers Wanted!

The Milton Keynes Community Boat will have a crew of two or three people: a Skipper on the helm, a Host to welcome and cater for passengers, and an Assistant on longer, night and locking cruises.

We are still looking to recruit Skippers for the 2020 season, and in particular we want to hear from people who may like to be a Cabin Host - it’s a great people-facing role, out and about on the water.

Click here for more details of boat crew roles.

Click here for details of the boat crew training plan.

Behind every successful boat crew is a ‘land team’ with all kinds of skills including IT, sales, marketing, PR, admin, finance, management, maintenance, and training.

We’re currently recruiting to both land team roles and boat crew roles. If you’re interested in volunteering, please get in touch - click here to download an Expression of Interest form.

For more information contact the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterways Trust at jane.wolfson@mkcommunityboat.org

Find out more

Due to the need for everyone to self isolate please watch this space for announcement of the next public meeting about this exciting project, meetings are normally held on Monday evening, 7-9pm at the Parks Trust Pavilion, 1300 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 4AD. All are welcome. 

Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterways Trust invite local residents to come and find out more about the Trust and the project, and help shape the cruising plans for the Community Boat. Where would you like to go by boat in Milton Keynes on the canal? What would you like to do?

The team is keen to meet local people who are interested in the project and would like to share their ideas and experiences, and maybe get involved – there are many different volunteering opportunities and the chance to get involved in an exciting project from the outset.

For more information and join our mailing list for the next meeting, contact the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterways Trust at jane.wolfson@mkcommunityboat.org

There’s enthusiastic support for the Milton Keynes Community Boat … please join us!