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.
maintains a narrowboat and 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
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 regularly give 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 other
Pictures of Stopgap
members in 2009.
Pictures of Stopgap members in
Pictures of Stopgap members on
their 'Thank You' trip in October 2011
Stopgap on the web - opens in a new window.
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
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
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.