We look forward to seeing you onboard

Electra Community Cruises 2023

As a community boat, Electra’s brief is to develop cruising opportunities to suit the needs of the diverse population of Milton Keynes. So as well as public trips and private charters, Electra is developing three community programmes, to give enjoyable waterway experiences to more people.

Sponsored cruises

Afghan visitors
Community Group

Electra serves wide range of guests, including people with disabilities, who come from all local MK postcodes. However, it’s clear that guests do not yet reflect the whole MK population, and that we need to do more to raise awareness and remove barriers of access. Our initial research suggests that barriers can include finance, illness, disability, mental health issues, lack of access, lack of awareness, and cultural barriers relating to use of open space. By offering free or part-funded cruises to groups who will benefit we can start to overcome these barriers and provide enjoyable waterway experiences for all.

So far we’ve arranged 17 Sponsored Cruises, with funding from a range of sources including the Postcode Lottery Trust, MK Ward Councillors, John Lewis and Waitrose, and Canal & River Trust. Sponsored groups include young people with learning needs, elderly sheltered housing residents with dementia, refugees, stroke survivors, and foster carers.

Our aim is to be able to fund 40 cruises each season. We run an ongoing Appeal Fund – find out more here – and we also invite donations through our online ticketing system. If you would like to become a sponsor or find out how to access a cruise, please contact us at electra@bmkwaterway.org

Schools Cruises

Giffard Park School

A cruise on Electra offers a unique learning opportunity covering many areas of the curriculum. We are developing a Learning Partnership Programme targeted in the first instance at primary schools in the communities through which the Grand Union Canal runs. Trips are provided at cost. Giffard Park Primary School was our pilot school in 2022 and we are working with them and other schools in 2023. You can read more about their experience here. Contact electra@bmkwaterway.org if you are interested in finding out more about our Schools Cruises.

Special Events in Partnership

We enjoy working with other local organisations to encourage more people to get out and about, on and beside the canal. We run special events and attend local festivals. We’re always looking for new opportunities – please contact us at electra@bmkwaterway.org if you’d like to invite us to work with you.

For example, in 2022 ….

Walk & Glide Weekend (September 2022)

Walk and Glide

In partnership with the Parks Trust we ran our second Walk & Glide Weekend. Eight different three-hour walk/cruise options enabled people to explore more of Milton Keynes’ waterside parkland, and experience the peacefulness of gliding along the canal on an electric boat. The walks, led by Parks Trust volunteers, had stops at points of interest, such as the new Gyosei Art Trail sculptures, or medieval fishponds and ‘ridge and furrow’ farmland. Electra volunteers gave walkers a warm welcome on board, with refreshments available from the Galley Bar.

Heritage Weekend at Great Linford Manor Park (September 2022)

Heritage Weekend GLMP
(Photo Credit: Adrian Court)

Electra ran fully-booked cruises to and from the Heritage Open Days Weekend at Great Linford Manor, plus two return cruises from the Park to New Bradwell. Park visitors enjoyed popping on board to see the facilities Electra can offer, find out about our cruises – and to take a ‘look under the bonnet’ at our bank of batteries as a fully-electric boat. We gave our first-ever two short talks about the history – and the future – of canals in Milton Keynes on board Electra These were warmly welcomed, so we’ll plan to do more in other venues.

Fenny Stratford Canal Festival (August 2022)

Fenny Festival

Electra ran 8 fully-booked short cruises at the wonderful 2022 Fenny Stratford Canal Festival organised by volunteers in the Inland Waterways Association MK Branch. Overnight mooring and charging were kindly arranged by Willowbridge Marina. It was a great opportunity to meet potential new volunteers and let people know about our cruises. The weather was lovely, the other stalls were a great source of coffee, cake and ice-cream. We donated two Gift Vouchers as raffle prizes and look forward to hosting the lucky winners. And we’ll definitely be back for the whole weekend in 2023!

Little Legs Walk One Way (WOW) Cruises in partnership with the Canal & River Trust (school holidays 2022)

Little Legs 3 Post Bench

We encouraged families to get out and about on their local canal, with a short cruise on Electra to or from the local landmark Three Post Bench, and a short walk led by Canal & River Trust volunteers.