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Broughton narrowboat journeys

Broughton Church Narrowboat sitting in Aylesbury on the Grand Union CanalIn Aylesbury, local families in need and struggling with the cost of living can join free narrowboat day trips run by Broughton Church along the Aylesbury arm of the Grand Union Canal.

The church runs a community coffee shop which is one of the collection hubs for a local foodbank and where an independent debt advice group also host drop-ins. The church has seen a big increase in the number of people accessing food parcels and a recent decline in the number of donations to the food bank due to the rising cost of living crisis.

Building relationships and contacts through their community networks to spread the word and with a grant from the Development Fund, the church kick-started the first summer season of free narrowboat day trips.

Alison Corbould from the team at Broughton Church tells us about the project:

“We have been running a few day trips a month to serve those in the local community in need, including families experiencing bereavement, local women and children’s charities, and families unable to afford outings with their children during the school holidays.”

“The families and groups say they have been made to feel really welcome and are very grateful for the rest time away from the stresses and busyness of normal life. Some of the visitors just want some time to relax, others ask for prayer and to talk through their issues.”

Alison encourages other churches to think about how they might reach out to their community:

“If you have recognised a need in your community, step out in faith and see where it takes you. When the church was gifted the boat in 2016, we weren’t sure how our vision to use it to serve the local community would work. However, the congregation really got behind this project supporting it through donations and volunteering to be trained to crew the boat.”

Moving into the colder winter months, the church plans to take the boat into the Aylesbury town centre to offer a drop-in for local people with hot drinks and an opportunity to chat, pray and find support. They have also teamed up with Canal Ministries and are sharing the resource with other local churches for mission and to reach more people in the surrounding parishes.

Greenhouses

The narrowboat project team recently joined the local Aylesbury Town Greenhouse network, part of the growing new congregations work in the diocese, taking part in regular planning days, sharing progress, and supporting other Greenhouse mission initiatives in the area.

BBC Three Counties

Listen to the Revd Phil White, Vicar of Broughton Church, speaking to Kady Braine from BBC Three Counties Radio when she went to visit the narrowboat project in December whilst it is open as a Warm Hub drop in.

Page last updated: Friday 16th December 2022 3:50 PM
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