A boat trip to remember

We recently took some people we are supporting for a day out on the canal in Mirfield. Safe Anchor Trust offer free boat trips for community good causes and it’s such a great opportunity that we had to have a go!

You might be thinking, “What? A day out on the canal? How is that work, how is that making a difference and how is that part of a support service?” Well, let us try and explain …

Community Plus teams have been running connect sessions across Kirklees over the past few years. It’s a way to bring people together that we are supporting to connect them around a shared experience in something they might have in common. People feel less lonely with what they are facing and can give each other advice or a much needed shoulder of support. A simple thing of bringing people together to share concerns or experiences can have a powerful effect on their lives.

Jumping into action

So, when we heard about Safe Anchor Trust, the Dewsbury / Mirfield Community Plus team jumped into action, booked the canal trip and immediately contacted people we are supporting to see if they were interested. The canal boat is accessible for people in wheelchairs, so it was great to be able to offer a day out to people with mobility issues too.

Ten people came along on the day. None of them had never been on a canal boat before and really loved finding out how to drive the boat and how the locks worked. Cups of tea were had and everyone had a go at driving the boat and opening locks. There was even dancing involved! One gentleman who came along has been inspired to volunteer with Safe Anchor Trust.

“I really enjoyed the boat trip and learning how to open the lock – amazing experience I won’t forget!”

Positive feedback

The effect the trip had on people for days after is evident in one person’s story in particular. A lady who came along got in touch on the Monday after and was keen to let us know how much it meant to her:

“I want to start off with how fantastic Community Plus are. I was very low on Friday morning, just not myself at all, I had a lot going on. I spoke to the library assistant from Dewsbury Library, she spoke to a colleague called Shafiq from Community Plus and let me tell you what a wonderful experience I had. From start to finish I had a confidential chat; I was reassured everything was ok and was asked if there was anything I needed support with. He gave me recommendations and support contact numbers that would help to me as well. Shaf invited me on the boat canal trip, and I was in two minds, however I went and it was a fantastic experience. It was peaceful, I made new friends, what a beautiful journey and it has certainly given me a beautiful uplift as I had a fantastic weekend and am raring to go and start a new chapter all thanks to the Community Plus team.”

The power of bringing people together, especially in the outdoors, can never be underestimated. We value and appreciate our role in being able to do this alongside amazing charities like Safe Anchor Trust. Outcomes for people included:

  • increased social connection
  • being more active
  • accessing volunteering opportunities?
  • reduced isolation & loneliness
  • better mental health and wellbeing

If you are interested in a Community Plus connect session, please get in touch: community.plus@kirklees.gov.uk  or  01484 225224.