30 Apr

That's what they told us - so just how wrong was that prognosis?

In July 2021, a member of the abandoned boats group on Facebook, Andy Flint, came up with an idea, but that was what he was told. No one will give you a boat. Undaunted, he put a few lines on a post on Facebook, and the idea struck a chord in the community on the cut and rivers. 

Andy  proposed river and canal users, boat owners and businesses use their combined knowledge and skills to restore a boat and give it to a homeless ex service person. The response  was phenomenal, comments on the post got longer and longer. 

That's when I,  Andy's now Co-chair of FVA,  stuck my oar in and suggested a dedicated Facebook page might be an idea. Could you build one? Andy asked. So I did, and in less than a day we had more than 500 followers. 

Offers poured  and in just days, through others  generosity, we had a locked secured yard to work on the boat and a company willing to transport the boat to and from any part of the country for free.In less than a week we had been donated out 1st narrowboat.

Do you think we should have a website? I asked - clearly not having learned to keep my mouth shut! Can you build one? Andy asked. Apparently I could and www.forcesvetsafloat.co.uk was born. 

Far from no-one donating us a boat - we now have 6, including our 102 year old, 70ft flagship, NB Daisy. More about this remarkable old girl in another article.

The charity, The Veterans Support Association have now thrown their weight behind us, so we can work in partnership with them to place the finished boats in the right place. The Royal British Legion have also offered to support our boats and the veterans on them.

We welcome people power to get boats restored and would love all the help we can get. Several companies have spent a day volunteering with us, to clean boats up when we're donated them. Is that something your company might be interested in doing? We have boats in Nottingham, at Sawley Marina, and in Worcestershire, at Droitwich Spa Marina.

Boats aren't cheap to run. A common saying in the boating community is that BOAT stands for "Break Out Another Thousand" - so we welcome donations towards any licensing, insurance and so on.

If you have a boat you might like to donate, please contact Andy via forcesvetsafloat@gmail.com or Pete@forcesvetsafloat.co.ukor for any information,  offers of help, donations of money or goods, please contact Lizzie@forcesvetsafloat.co.uk

* The email will not be published on the website.