Angel Community Boat. Photo (c) Canal Voyagers Ltd.

Angel Community Boat. Photo (c) Canal Voyagers Ltd.

Last week The Islington Tribune reported that NCBA member; The Angel Community Canal Boat Trust are anticipating possible funding problems in the future.

The community boat ‘Angel II of Islington’ is a purpose built 72’ steel narrowboat, commissioned in April 2000. Young people and disabled people from Hackney and Islington enjoy gaining a new perspective, a change of scene, improved confidence and social skills with the trust. The boat takes over 2,000 people a year on day trips or longer residential boat trips. They have been running these trips for over 40 years. Angel II is used by community groups, schools; a special needs school and residents around the neighbourhood.

Although Islington Council has confirmed that the boat’s funding is secure for the next year, future financial security is undecided. It is difficult for the project to conform to the councils new funding goals, because the Trust offers such a unique service to the local community.

When I lived aboard a narrowboat we regularly spent the winter moored on the Islington visitor moorings, and as such we would frequently see the Angel II heading off through the Islington tunnel to Camden Market, London Zoo and beyond! A team of volunteers give local youngsters the opportunity to see the city from a different angle.

The project has recently been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The Queen’s Award is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK. Any organisation can be nominated so long as there are two people or more in the group and that the majority of them are volunteers. If a group provides a service and meets a need for the local community then they can be considered for the award. They must be supported, recognised and respected by the local community and should be running for three years or more.

These NCBA members have received the award over the last three years;

2012 The Rivertime Boat Trust in Henley on Thames.

2013 The South Staffordshire Narrowboat Company in Wolverhampton.

2014 Angel Community Canal Boat Trust Islington, London.

The award recognises the efforts of volunteer skippers, crew and others who generously give up their time to provide access to boating for local community groups and charities, and also those who spend time fundraising for community boats.

Winners receive a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed glass crystal which is presented at a special ceremony. This year’s winners will be announced in June, by the Cabinet Office, Buckingham Palace and the London Gazette.

Meanwhile the Angel Community Canal Boat Trust is currently looking for alternative long-term funding. Find out more about the work of The Angel Community Canal Boat Trust  at their website.