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Canal boating for all – Cotswold Canals Connected celebrates a new addition to the Cotswold Boatmobility fleet

Published: Monday, 3 April, 2023

Access to the Stroudwater Canal will be enjoyed by many more people thanks to the launch of Symphony, a new wheelchair accessible boat.

Symphony is the second wheelchair accessible boat for the Stonehouse based charity Cotswold Boatmobility and was sponsored by the Cotswold Canals Connected partnership.

The volunteer run Cotswold Boatmobility aims to make boating accessible for all with wheelchair accessible boats and katakanus, an amalgamation of a catamaran and canoe. Participants typically have mobility, mental health or learning issues and without the charity would struggle to get onto the water.

The official launch event involved a ribbon cutting, trips along the canal on the new boat, talks from representatives of Cotswold Boatmobility and Cotswold Canals Connected, as well as a wider progress update on the canal project.

Jan Thomas, Chair of Cotswold Boatmobility said:

“We are extremely grateful to Cotswold Canals Connected for its continued support over the years and for now generously sponsoring a new boat. It is so important for us to work with local organisations which share our values of prioritising inclusivity and accessibility.

“With the addition of the boat, we will now be able to put on more trips and get even more people to experience the wonderful Cotswold canals. Our sessions have been significantly increasing in demand and we are in need of more volunteers so we would love to hear from anyone interested in helping us. Boating or caring skills would be useful, however training can be provided to those interested.”

Chris Mitford-Slade, Cotswold Canals Connected Project Director said:

“The Cotswold Canals Connected project is not only for restoring the canal, but for creating inclusive and thriving communities. Cotswold Boatmobility is a vital part of the Stonehouse community, and plays a huge part in getting people, who would be otherwise unable, out on the canal. We are pleased to play a part in helping the charity expand and look forward to seeing it widen its opportunities. We are also very grateful for the support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund who provide both funding support and strategic advice to the project team.”

To find out more about Cotswold Boatmobility, apply as a volunteer or book a boat trip on their new boat, visit their website.

Cotswold Canals Connected is a partnership of organisations led by Stroud District Council and the Cotswold Canals Trust which are restoring the canal network. The section between Thrupp and Stonehouse is now complete. The next stage, which includes this project, will restore a further four-mile section between Stonehouse and Saul Junction providing a connection to the national waterway network.

Find out more about the Cotswold Canals Connected project at their website and by following Cotswold Canals Connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

This press release has been issued by Stroud District Council on behalf of Cotswold Canals Connected.

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