With your help, the Angel Boat is seeking funding to establish a new and unique project that will extend our community canal boat’s reach to abuse survivors and their children.
With your help, Angel Boat is seeking to establish a unique project to extend our community canal boat’s services to help female survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse and their children.
Angel Boat is a skippered community canal boat, based on the Regents Canal in Islington, London. We provide day and longer trips to people who face wide-ranging challenges –including children with learning difficulties, from disadvantaged backgrounds, dementia sufferers, the elderly and isolated, victims of gang crime and refugee groups.
Our vision is to extend our reach to women and child abuse survivors by partnering with Solace Women’s Aid, building on our 40 years’ experience and knowledge of the benefits of canal trips with us
Solace provides a wide range of services to thousands of women and children made homeless through domestic violence or sexual abuse, including temporary refuge, therapeutic counselling and training. It’s these women and children the Angel Boat aims to reach.
Our trips will provide survivors with a relaxing and safe experience on board Angel Boat. These will provide respite from their day-today hardships and help rebuild self-esteem and to meet other women survivors to make new friendships and build supportive networks to help rebuild their lives.
Why is our project important?
- In the UK, 28% of women experience domestic abuse.
- Two women are killed each week by a partner or ex-partner.
- It affects women from all backgrounds.
- Domestic violence is the single most common cause of becoming homeless, because many women have no choice but to leave their home and seek refuge to protect themselves and their children from further harm.
- And it’s not only the women’s lives that are torn apart – often children are severely traumatised by having either experienced abuse or witnessed their mum being abused.
- Child survivors often experience profound psychological disorders - anxiety, depression, suicidal behaviour, low self-esteem, inability to trust others, sleep disturbances and emotional detachment
For survivors of violence/abuse and their children, isolated from their normal home environment:
- Building new social and relationship networks is an important resource to draw on for the future; and
- Regaining confidence and trust is a key goal to help survivors on their journey to independent living
- Providing enjoyable experiences complements traditional counselling therapies
Our project will deliver on these.
Who will benefit and how?
For £2,500, we will reach 130 women, children and young people through three tailor-made experiences appropriate to different age groups:
1. Victims in refuges with young children under the age of 13: we will run 10 half-day trips, benefiting 100 mums and their youngsters:
We will take them on relaxing but exciting half-day trips along Regents Canal, enjoying brief respite from their day-to-day environment. Both women and children will make new friends, experience London from a very different perspective from Angel Boat, relax in the safe and tranquil environment on our boat, enjoy lighter moments, and a picnic in gardens along the way.
These children rarely get to experience life outside their refuge so we provide an adventure as well as being a hugely therapeutic experience.
Depending on the appetite of the mums, they can try their hand at new skills such as steering our 72-foot narrow boat and operating the locks along the way. All helps to build confidence and self-esteem.
2. Adolescents in refuge aged 13 to 17: we’ll provide one full-day trip benefiting 10 young people affected by abuse
A longer experience where teens have the opportunity to benefit from all the therapeutic benefits of canal boating, but more importantly form new supportive friendships and relationships that can last for life.
They can also try out new skills to boost their confidence such as steering the boat, operating locks together and helping fix lunch with their peers.
3. Ambassadors – 16-17-year-old young people, who generate campaigns to raise awareness of the impact of domestic abuse in schools and society in general: We will run two-day residential trips, benefiting up to 20 female ambassadors
We will provide a more immersive experience for young Solace Ambassadors, some themselves survivors of abuse. An innovative programme, these young people will enjoy London and the Home Counties from a new vantage point, enjoy the sights, flora and fauna along the way, but more importantly, provide an environment that lends itself to opening up and sharing experiences with others. This will include sharing best practice about their volunteer outreach commitments so they can reach even more people with their campaigns. And of course, lots of opportunity to practice boating skills including steering the boat and operating locks
What people say about our impact
We need your support to get this project off the ground – so we don’t yet have testimonials. But what we can tell you is that both Angel Boat and Solace each have over 40 years’ experience of making a difference to the lives of people facing challenging personal issues.
About the work that Angel Boat does in the community, here’s what our users say:
“Children have expressed their delight at being in the open air, on a boat, using the locks. ‘I feel like I’m in a dream right now’ was one comment. Educational and a great relaxing experience. It was amazing.” (Group leader – school for children with special education needs)
“Children had the opportunity to build independence, confidence, communication, patience, understanding and cooperation as they were ‘living’ together in a small space in a mixed age/ability group."
For the 700 women and children each year using Solace’s refuges to keep them safe from abuse, 92% of women feel safer and more confident:
"I smile now that mummy smiles.” (Solace child user living in Refuge)
“I am learning to […] enjoy being in the present. I don’t feel dead on the inside. […]. I feel I have choices and more tools to take care of myself.” (Survivor, Solace user)