How did Forces Vets Afloat start?

Founder, Andy is a boat owner and member of a group which is interested in the many abandoned boats on our canals and rivers.

He proposed in the group, that it might be possible to get hold of an abandoned boat, refurbish it, and pass it on to someone who was homeless.

People loved the idea and the overall consensus was that the boat should go to a former member of the British Armed Forces, who was without a home.

The day after is initial post on canal-themed Facebook pages, offers of help  came flooding in, and it was decided that a Facebook page was needed to keep track of things. Lizzie Lane then came on board, as admin, to build the FB page and now the website.

How do we choose the veterans who live on our boats?

Much as we'd love to have boats for every veteran who wanted to live on one, we know that's just not possible.
To be considered for one of our boats there are two vital criteria veterans must meet.
The 1st sounds like a no-brainer but you'd be surprised how many people don't get it - a veteran must be homeless and that means not living in rented accommodation, in a property which they are paying the mortgage for, or in which a partner pays the rent or mortgage.
The 2nd is that they must be referred to us by a charity which is assisting them and which will continue to assist them once they are on board our boat. 

Where do the boats come from?

The original idea was to give new life to boats which have been abandoned and who's owners can't be traced. This would bring back in to use,  boats which would just eventually sink, stop them becoming eyes sores and blocking mooring spaces.

This rapidly spread to being offered the pick of boats which had been taken to be scrapped - which will give us scope for different sizes and styles of craft.

Our 1st boat  - a narrowboat - was extremely generously donated, by the family of a gentleman who had died. What a memorial - what a wonderful gesture. 

Who can get involved in restoration?

The simple answer is - anyone.

If you want to help - we will find you something to do.
It could be as simple as helping wash a boat down or doing some sanding, to skilled jobs like plumbing, painting, gas and engine servicing, laying floors, running up curtains and furnishings, the list could go on for miles.
If you have a skill - we can use it.
If you have a willing pair of hands and some time - we can use you.

If you want to get involved, drop us a message using the contact page on this site, message on the Forces Vets Afloat Facebook page, or use What'sApp, the number is on our header on the home page.

I don't have a skill or time to help, how can I get involved?

We realised very soon after we started the project, that travelling to where the boats are and getting stuck in would be impossible for some people.

To this end we have set up a Go Fund Me page - where you can make donations if you would like to.

You can find it here:​​​