Now arrived!

Milton Keynes Community Boat - Electra

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Inspired by the success of the John Bunyan boat in Bedford, and informed by other Trusts’ small trip boats,  the BMK Waterway Trust is delighted that Electra, the Milton Keynes Community Boat was craned into the Grand Union on 5th May 2021. It’s called a Community Boat because it is run entirely by volunteers, and it is open to everyone.

Electra is a brand-new 12-guest, fully-electric, 54-foot narrowboat. It has disabled access, with a lift and a toilet that take an average size wheelchairs.

The name means ‘shining light’. Electra was the goddess of sea clouds, in which lightning is often seen, so it seemed a great choice for an all-electric boat and its sparky volunteer team.

Electra will operate out of the new Campbell Wharf development in the heart of Milton Keynes and offer cruises on the Grand Union Canal towards Cosgrove and Fenny Stratford. It will offer public cruises, private charters, seasonal specials and ‘park & parish cruises’ for local communities.

Be among the first to book!

Booking opens online 21st June, for cruises starting on 21st July . Most Public Cruises will have adult, concession, child or family ticket prices.

Charter Cruises can also be booked online from 21st June for cruises starting on 21st July – this is where you hire the entire boat and crew just for you and your group. Great for private parties or special birthdays!

If you are looking for a charter with a difference then our volunteers can offer a Custom Charter booking service by email. More details coming soon.

Volunteers wanted!

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

We’re still recruiting Cabin Hosts and shore crew – in particular people with marketing skills – for the 2021 season. Cabin Host is a great people-facing role, welcoming guests, making them feel comfortable, and running the small café/bar on board. Click on the links to find out more.

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

If you’re interested in volunteering with Electra, then please fill in and send this form and we’ll contact you within 24 hours.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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.

To see the latest photos of how we are progressing in building our new community boat click View Progress button

  • View Progress
  • Halseyon Days built by Colecraft (photos courtesty of the Baldwin Trust) show some key features of the MK Community Boat: disabled-access lift, cabin interior with large windows for viewing, and covered open bow area. Note: our interior and exterior livery are still under discussion.

     

Please help to float the MK Community Boat!

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The Milton Keynes Community Boat will cost £140,000 ex VAT, with additional ~£26,000 to get the boat fully equipped, crew qualified, and all operations set up ready to trade.

Construction of the boat has been fully funded by a combination of contributions from the Trust, Trust members, Section 106 funding from Milton Keynes Council and a grant from Milton Keynes Community Foundation. The construction contract has been awarded to Colecraft Ltd and build taking place October 2020 – April 2021.

Initial costs of crew training, equipment and accreditation, and a community outreach pilot, have been covered by the Postcode Community Trust, a charity funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. We’re also grateful for support from Canalside Parishes and Ward Councillors.

We need to raise the final £3,000 by the end June, to fully equip the boat for cruising, compile a maintenance kit, and create a range of promotional items including signboards.  Individual or group donations towards these costs will be very gratefully received. Donations can be made below. To find out what is still needed, please contact jane.wolfson@bmkwaterway.org to request a current list.

Every donation helps. These can be made online and can be Gift Aided too.

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

Find out more

View our News & Events page for details of the next public meeting. All are welcome.

Follow us from mid-April on social media @ElectraBoatMK. We’ll be counting down the weeks to the launch of public cruises and private charters!

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

Electra is very much a ‘community boat’ as we will be working with councils, businesses, charities and community groups to reach out and serve everyone in Milton Keynes. For example, the schedule will include a number of sponsored cruises for local disadvantaged, isolated or disabled groups, who would not normally have access to the canal and associated parkland. This will be achieved through partnerships with The Parks Trust, canal-side Parishes and Borough Wards, as well as local businesses and charities – and national charities like the Postcode Community Trust. We’re keen to hear from potential partners too.

Contact Electra Volunteer Chair jane.wolfson@bmkwaterway.org

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

Founding Sponsors & Supporters

Founding Sponsors

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Supporters

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