Coming soon!

Milton Keynes Community Boat

The Trust is planning a 12-passenger, accessible, fully-electric 54-foot narrowboat to be launched in Spring of 2021.

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 and 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.

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Project Partners

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

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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.

The boat will have a covered open bow area so people can stand out and take the air, a saloon area with seating for 12, galley for café/bar services plus a wheelchair-access toilet and lift for less mobile passengers.

These photos of Halseyon days, courtesy of the Balwind Trust, gives an idea of what the layout will be like.

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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 from Fenny Stratford to Cosgrove, 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 Community Boat!

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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 boat builders had closed for several weeks, but are now returning to 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. These can be made online and can be Gift Aided too.

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 on longer, night and locking cruises an Assistant.

We are still looking to recruit volunteers for the 2020/21 season, and in particular we want to hear from people who may like to be a Cabin Host or Skippers – it’s a great people-facing role, out and about on the water.

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.

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

Find out more

View our News & Events page for details of the next public meeting. 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 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!