Electra, the community boat on the Grand Union Canal, is seeking more volunteers


Electra, the accessible, all-electric community canal boat, run by volunteers from the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust, already has 49 volunteers, but more are needed as demand for cruises has doubled since the boat was launched in 2021.

Volunteer Chair, Denise Taylor, said “Electra volunteers are a friendly bunch who work as one big team, creating and delivering a range of enjoyable cruises on the Grand Union Canal. Some people crew the boat, others work behind the scenes to get everything ready, and some people do a bit of both!”

“We are recruiting NOW for Cabin Hosts, to welcome and chat with guests and serve a range of food and drinks from the on-board Galley Bar.” added Sue Morrison, Lead Cabin Host. Informal interviews will be held in April and training in May/June, ready for crewing from July.

There are also shore-based vacancies in Customer Liaison, Social Media, Marketing, Outreach, Fundraising and Project Management – great opportunities to learn new skills in a friendly, supportive team.

Lindsey Patraiko, Volunteer Social Media Manager, agreed. “I volunteered because it was unique and exciting, and I wanted to enhance and develop my social media skills and use my creativity. If you haven’t got a lot of time, there are also a number of short tasks that can be quickly completed.”

Volunteer Coordinator, Gill Kirkup, who also volunteers as a cabin host, said “I’m the first port of call for anyone interested in volunteering for Electra and really enjoy meeting new people and finding out about their interests.”

Milton Keynes claims to have a higher number of volunteers per head of population than any other UK city, with 84,500 citizens regularly volunteering across the city.

Anyone interested in volunteering is invited to visit Electra’s website https://www.bmkwaterway.org/electra/volunteering/ or email the team on  volunteers.electra@bmkwaterway.org for further details.


Caption: Electra’s volunteer crew. Credit: Lindsey Patraiko

For more information:

Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust  www.bmkwaterway.org

Media contact: James Clifton, B&MK Waterway Trust; mobile: 07710-175410;

The boat can carry up to 12 guests; it includes lavatory provision and access lift for users of standard size wheelchairs. Cruises are run in line with public health guidance. The boat is well ventilated, has an air filter and is sanitised before each cruise.

Electra was launched in May 2021 and is the first all-electric trip boat to be built by Warwickshire-based boatbuilders Colecraft Engineering, run by Gary Cole along with a team of 20 supporting steelwork, carpentry, engineering and sales staff. The boat uses an all-electric propulsion unit from Fischer Panda. The electric propulsion batteries are charged from both mains power and on-board solar panels.

The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust has funded the construction of the boat, with generous contributions from Crest Nicholson, via Milton Keynes Council s106 funding for the Campbell Wharf development, the Milton Keynes Community Foundation, and donations from Trust members. Kitting out of the boat was funded by a number of local Councils and other organisations.

Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust

The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust was established in 1995 to promote a new 16-mile Waterway Park, incorporating a new broad canal linking the Grand Union Canal in Milton Keynes with the River Great Ouse in Bedford.

Running trip boats is a key activity for the Trust, raising funds and awareness. The Trust’s cruises let thousands of local people enjoy being on their local waterway in Bedford or Milton Keynes, demonstrating the value that Waterway Parks can bring.

The route of the proposed new Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Park is protected by local authority policies and included in the Local Plans of the three authorities along the route. The Trust is currently lobbying for its inclusion in plans for local water resource management and as part of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc infrastructure. The Trust works with a range of partners to ensure opportunities to integrate the Waterway into development and thereby maximise delivery of local benefits. The Trust is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity.