Come canal boating

The canal boat trips are for young people who are full-time wheelchair users, need more 1-2-1 support, or are anxious about their mobility. The Trust team consider who might benefit more from this trip and invite them to take part.

There are trips for under and over 18s.

Am I eligible for a trip? Register for a trip

Confidence on the canals

The five-day canal trips provide all the same benefits of being on a boat with others of a similar age, that have been through similar things, but in a smaller group with more one-to-one support.

These trips take place on specially-adapted canal boats in Essex in partnership with CanalAbility, an award-winning charity dedicated to making boating on the river more accessible.

The Trust team consider who might benefit more from this trip and invite them to take part.

2023 trip dates

Under 18s
Monday 24 - Friday 28 July

Over 18s
Monday 04 - Friday 08 September

Register for a trip Contact the team

"I feel like I can take the tumour and live with it and rule it." - Mary

The magic of Trust trips

It’s hard to explain how only four days on a boat can be so transformational. You have to live it to understand it. The result is very special.

Download pocket guide Our impact - live dashboard

Ankit's Story

"We’ve come to ease our minds, to relax, to take away all the tension that we’ve got in life."

Canal trips have a slower pace than those on a yacht — perfect for Ankit to take control of his recovery at a speed which worked for him.

Find out more about Ankit's Story

Find out more about the trips Support the Trust

The difference canal trips make

Our impact - live dashboard Contact the team

The other big canal trip questions...

Is there medical support?

There will be a qualified medic to help cover all necessary medical needs of the young people on the trip. Your medical information comes from the medical form you fill in prior to the trip, so make sure you include all relevant, up to date medical and non-medical information you feel we should know about.

How many other young people will be on the trip?

There will be up to four young people on each canal trip.

I still get really tired or lack energy. Will this stop me coming?

No way! All our staff and volunteers understand the after-effects of cancer, including fatigue, can last a long time. They can make sure you get as many rest breaks as you need. You will be encouraged to join in all the activities, but won’t be forced to do anything you won’t be able to manage. We always also try to put young people into groups with similar abilities, so no one feels left out. You will surprise yourself.

I can’t swim. Does it matter?

Nope! During the trips you don’t actually go in the river, so you don’t need to be able to swim. Lifejackets will be provided for when you are on deck or the towpath.

What do I need to bring?

Not as much as you think! Closer to the time of your trip we will send you a full kit list containing all the information you need.

Please don't bring big bulky bags or suitcases as there is very limited storage space onboard - a soft holdall or something that can be squished down is perfect.

You won’t need any specialist clothing, waterproofs or a lifejacket – we provide all that - just normal clothes, including some warm layers, shoes you don’t mind getting wet and a pillow. You will basically live in joggers/leggings, a hoodie and your Trust trip t-shirt! We also always have plenty of high-factor sun cream on all of our trips.

What’s the food like?

The canal boats have a fully equipped kitchen so you will eat a good mix of hearty, home-cooked meals and lots of baking! We try to cater for everyone’s needs and diets and aim to promote a healthy diet. If you do have any special dietary requirements these go on your Medical Form.

Where do I sleep?

Everybody sleeps on the canal boat. The boat you will be on has four main sleeping compartments, with one bunk specially adapted for those with mobility difficulties or who use a wheelchair.

Do I need to have had a COVID vaccination?

Our approach to COVID vaccinations and testing has changed for 2023. Please make sure you read our updated guidance by clicking here – Vaccination and Testing Update

Should I bring my phone and spending money?

Any phones or valuable electronic equipment are bought along entirely at your own risk and we cannot be responsible for any loss or damage. We recommend these are left at home, but do understand you may want to bring them along for the journey. Our staff and volunteers will have phones you can use to phone home if necessary and Trust contact will be provided to family and friends should they need to get in touch while you’re away. Everything is provided so you only need enough money for any extra snacks or souvenirs you want to buy. We suggest no more than £20.

What difference will the trip make to me?

Explore our live, real-time impact dashboard and learn how and in what ways we make a difference to the young people we support - Our Impact.

Staying involved 

Many young people need continued support over time. Our return trips mean they can build a relationship with the Trust that goes beyond a one-off experience.

Once a young person has been on a first time trip, they are invited back the following year. Canal boat trips also have people who are returning as well as first-timers.

Wherever a young person lives and whatever stage of recovery they are at, they can always turn to the Trust. Our return trips are where we make a lasting difference.

See our other return trips Return to all trips

Canal boats not right for you? Maybe come sailing!

Four-day sailing trips for 8-17 and 18-24 year-olds take place from Cowes on the Isle of Wight and Largs in Scotland. But sailing is only part of it…

Find out more