Now arrived!

Milton Keynes Community Boat - Electra

img

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 fully-electric, 54-foot narrowboat that will accommodate up to 12-guest. 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 information will be added to our web page after the government’s mid-July Covid update – we are now aiming for online bookings to open on 14 July, with public cruises commencing in early August

Public Trips

Our 2021 Public Trip programme includes:

●   Family Adventures – on the boat, on the towpath, and in parks

●   WOW! Walkers One Way – cruises that let you ramble further

●   Relaxation – cruises that glide quietly through green spaces

●   Cream Tea – cruises for an afternoon out with all the family

●   Fish’n’Bubbles – early evening cruises at the start of a night out

●   Special Cruises – linked to Canalside community events

Private Charters

Electra can be hired for Private Charters – great for family celebrations, group outings and business events. Two qualified volunteer crew take care of everything, leaving you to relax.

Private Charters depart from Campbell Wharf at 10.30, 14.30 or 18.30 on Thursdays and Saturdays. Simply choose your date, start time, cruise time (2 or 4 hours) and catering options, and then book online. Alternatively, contact our Bookings Team to arrange a Custom Charter. Build your own personal cruise from a wider range of options for cruise times, destinations, boarding points and catering choices.

From the Heart of Milton Keynes

  Electra operates mainly from the new Campbell Wharf development.

  ●   Relaxation, Cream Tea, and Fish’n’Bubbles Public Trips: Two hour return cruises from
       Campbell Wharf to Linford Wharf

  ●   Family Adventure and WOW! Trips: One hour, one way trips from Campbell Wharf,
        Great Linford Manor Park, New Bradwell

  ●   Two hour Private Charters: Campbell Wharf to Linford Wharf return

  ●   Four hour Private Charters: Campbell Wharf to New Bradwell or Water Eaton Mill return

  ●   Custom Charters depart from and return to a range of possible boarding points,
        with a maximum of six hours cruising

    Detailed information on Public Trips and Private Charters will be published in mid-June.

Image courtesy of Gill Prince Photography

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. Only assistance dogs are allowed on board

   

Images 1 &2 courtesy of Gill Prince Photography and interior image 3 of the galley courteous of Colecraft.

To view how Electra was constructed at Colecraft click the Electra Construction button.

Founding Sponsors & Supporters

The Trust is delighted to have worked with a wide range of Founding Sponsors and Supporters to bring Electra to Milton Keynes. Electra bears their names on panels located on both sides of the boat

img

Please help to float the MK Community Boat!

img

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 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!