There is little known about the sometimes marginalised and potentially vulnerable people who are hidden across 2000 miles of the UK’s inland waterways and canals. But thankfully, The Waterways Chaplaincy is there to help those feeling isolated on the water.
Established originally in the St Albans area, The Waterways Chaplaincy now covers many of the main waterways of the UK, including Grand Union Canal, The Kennet and Avon Canal and Rivers Lea and Stort.
Many people that come to them for help moved to the canals to find more cost effective accommodation, or out of necessity. A portion of these people are now facing loneliness, health problems and financial issues due to having no fixed address.
The Waterways Chaplaincy offers help and support to bring about personal transformations – emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Some of the areas in which they have helped include; accompanying people on trips to local foodbanks, supporting people applying for benefits and providing emotional support.
In 2018, they have increased volunteer chaplains from 30 to 40 and recruited a second part-time senior chaplain, who will develop work in the north. They have also grown their support hubs from three to five.
Allchurches Trust gave a grant of £56,000 to support their work, making sure people on our waterways get the help they need.