New 60ft canal boat which could be used for spiritual and educational pursuits arrives in Edinburgh’s Union Canal
The “All Aboard” was lifted off the back of a lorry by crane and lowered into the Union Canal at Wester Hailes this week.
It was then sailed towards the city centre and moored at the pontoon outside Polwarth Parish Church.
The £89,000 yellow, white and blue wide-beam canal boat is jointly owned by the congregation and partner charity, People Know How, a social innovation charity that addresses social issues and seeks to empower individuals and organisations to realise their true potential.
Built by The New & Used Boat Company in Droitwich in Worcestershire, the boat has been custom designed inside with a galley kitchen, toilet, flexible social space and is wheelchair accessible.
The congregation and the charity are confident that it will serve as a safe space to gather, socialise and improve wellbeing and community cohesion once it is officially brought into service later this summer.
Rev Jack Holt minister of Polwarth Parish Church, said the congregation has been working towards buying a vessel for nearly ten years as part of a wider project to develop the gardens.
“When it was first suggested that we should get a boat, everyone thought that was a pipe dream,” he explained.
“But I was convinced it was possible and I am delighted that the vision has come to reality and we can start to plan how it can be used by us and other churches from different denominations in the future.
“We decided on a wide-beam boat to provide the maximum amount of uncluttered interior space which would be accessible by all.
“It is eye-catching and we want people to see it and recognise it as a resource to be used by the community.”
Mr Holt said the boat will be used by the charity during the week and the church in the evenings and weekends as a “major” part of mission outreach work but will not be for hire.
It could be used for wedding ceremonies as an alternative to the church building.