Waterways chaplaincy

Waterways chaplains are independent of the Trust and are volunteers from local churches who proactively reach out to people in need on the UK's canals and rivers.

Waterways Chaplains

Rather like street pastors, waterways chaplains are there to serve boaters they come across. They build and maintain relationships and often help to sort out more involved issues such as poverty, or health and financial problems, helping transform lives for the better.

With over 100 volunteer chaplains, they aim to provide coverage for as much of the UK canal and river network as possible and divide the waterways network into 10 regions, from London and the Home Counties, to Wales, East and West Midlands and the North, as well as a hub of volunteers who work in the Norfolk and Suffolk broads area.

Waterways chaplains help people with a variety of life’s challenges, including health and wellbeing, relationships, employment and financial worries. Below is a quote from one of the chaplains about someone they recently helped.

“A while ago, I met a single-handed lady boater at a lock and we had a conversation about her partner recovering from cancer surgery but, thankfully, had not needed chemo this time. During our time together, I told her I would pray for them and to get in touch if there was anything we could do to help, even just a cup of coffee.”

The chaplains offer:

  • Listening: listening and a confidential ear
  • Signposting: helping those in difficulty find relevant local support services e.g. foodbanks
  • Advocacy: acting as advocates when a boater needs someone to unravel issues such as difficulties with paying licences, bereavement support and more
  • Emergencies: taking boaters to access emergency medical support, such as a doctor or hospital, or emergency shelter/housing
  • Practical support: such as help with washing and drying laundry, or helping boaters after a boat sinking
  • A hardship fund: an offer of coal/fuel, food or emergency boat repairs

For more information and to access their support, please visit their website.

Last date edited: 23 February 2022