balThe Baldwin Trust oprates two narrowboats to provide outings for community and other groups on the River Soar and the Loughborough canal in Leicestershire. The boats have lifts so they are able to manage disabled and elderly passengers and others with special needs.

The name Baldwin Trust arose as a result of a small bequest from a patient who had been cared for in the Baldwin ward of a local hospital. The trust was set up in 1983 with three trustees. The monies given were used to provide facilities for the recreation of patients of the Baldwin ward with the object of improving their life conditions.

It was decided to obtain a narrowboat in order to provide waterway outings. Some time ago the trustees extended the use of the boat to residents of rest and care homes, they now provide a majority of the client groups who make bookings for full or half day outings on the water. The trust also offers trips to family and other groups and has hosted visits of children from the Chernobyl as well as other overseas visitors.

stcIt required four years of extensive fundraising from 1983 before sufficient money was available to commission a narrowboat. This was ordered from a youth training trust in Birkenhead, Mersyside and in 1987 narrowboat St Clare was ready for collection.

The trust operated only this one boat for almost 15 years before obtaining a second vessel. During that time it had about 40 volunteers on its records. Most worked as crew but there were also teams to do boat maintenance, handle bookings and crew allocation, organise fund raising events and to administer the trust as a registered charity.

 

No staff are employed but the trust meets the cost of fees and expenses for the volunteers. In addition to the trustees there is a management team responsible for boat operations.

In 2002 Leicester City Council sought proposals for restoring two narrowboats to use for community use. Dandelion and Charlotte had been leased to a charity, which ceased operating in late 1990's. The boats had been moored close to Abbey Park and for a time they had been operated by the park wardens but the boats had been left unused and were vandalised and trashed.

The Baldwin Trust was primarily interested in Dandelion because it was equiped with a lift to enable disabled passengers to be carried, so it made a bid to restore Dandelion which was accepted by the city council; but were asked to take both boats and restore them. Both boats were transferred to the trust in 2002.

Dandelion was taken to Redhill Marina where volunteers started the substantial work to return Dandelion to a working state. In 2003 the work was completed and daDandelion was returned to full service, initially at Bishop Meadow moorings, and later Pillings Lock Marina.

In order to work on Charlotte the trust accepted an offer to partner the Inside-Out Trust on a restorative justice project. The boat was moved to Foxton and was taken on a low-loader to a workshop in Gartree Prision. Unfortunately the project did not complete a full working restoration. The boat was returned to Leicester Marina where the boat was made sailable and sold to another group on the Kennet & Avon Canal for further work.

 

qvsIn 2010 the Baldwin Trust was pleased to be awarded the Queen's Award for voluntary service because of its work with the local community.

 

 

louWe attend the annual Leicester Riverside and Loughborough canal festivals inorder to promote our work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 santaIn 2014, the Trust enhanced its cruise options by offering short 'Santa' trips from The Hope and Anchor public house at Syston during weekends from the middle of November through to Christmas where families get to meet Father Christmas up close with plenty of photograph opportunities. All children receive a small gift after enjoying refreshments of mincepies, biscuits and drinks.  These short trips have proved to be very enjoyable and successful so early booking is advised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please click here for a short video about the trust.

Presently the trust is looking to obtain a new boat to replace Dandelion. This is being achieved by fundraising and applying for grants. You can help too by either donating or joining our Friends Association.

 

 

 

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