South West Herts Narrowboat Project

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Our Users

The South West Herts Narrowboat Project is a local charity based on the River Gade, where it meets the Grand Union Canal at Hunton Bridge. The Project maintains two narrowboats and the base to provide access to the canals for youth and community groups, especially those who could not otherwise afford it. In a spirit of mutual support we often give free trips in return for work done for the project. Links to user groups' websites can be found on our Links page.

One such group is Stopgap, a year long specialist programme for young people in Hertfordshire aged 16-25 with Asperger's syndrome or social and communication difficulties. They have given our project a day of their time, during which they clean up our base and do jobs such as repainting our boundary fence.

I was one of the crew that took them on a day trip where they were taught to work the locks and steer the boat. We agreed that we should look towards supportive projects.


Pictures of Stopgap members in 2009.
Pictures of Stopgap members in 2011.
Pictures of Stopgap members on their 'Thank You' trip in October 2011

Stopgap on the web - opens in a new window.

Bushey Meads School, based in Bushey, Hertfordshire use our boats and some of the students from the school have written accounts of their trips as part of their Prince's Trust Achieve program; these can be read on this page.

The Retreat, Kings Langley is the home to past members of the book trade, supported by The Book Trade Benevolent Society. They have helped with fundraising for the Project by dressing some of the teddy bears used as prizes in the Project's raffles. The bear seen in some of these photos was dressed impeccably by Yvonne D'Inverno, whose local canal is the Midi in Carcassonne; "Merci et bon voyage a tous!". Members from The Retreat used the boat again in 2012 and have sent photos of their trip [taken by Ken Fraser], which can be seen on this page. They had a wonderful time on one of the hottest days of the year and would like to pass on their thanks to the crew of volunteers, Judith, Paul and Ann.

The Guideposts Trust have enjoyed trips on Dick's Folly, and they have offered to donate the proceeds of their next raffle towards the cost of the boat's refit. Henry Smith House, Watford have sent us a copy of their newsletter which advertises the plight of the Project on page 6.

Mencap groups have made good use of the boat over the years. Here are photos of the Harrow Mencap group in August 2009. The guys were very enthusiastic and willing to try steering and working the locks.

The YMCA have a long history with the Project when it was just a seed of an idea that Dick Gettings used as a way of bringing lots of community groups together. Dick was a senior youth worker in South West Herts and his enthusiasm brought the project into being and in whose memory the first boat was renamed. Here are a few photos of their June 2009 trip.

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Registered Charity No. 299973.