Back the Base Minibus
We did it
On 22nd December 2019 we successfully raised £15,100 with 164 supporters in 55 days

We're aiming to purchase a replacement for our ancient minibus.

by Westminster Boating Base in London, England, United Kingdom

Westminster Boating Base, an independent charity (registered charity number 299412), aims to make watersports activities affordable and accessible for all. WBB is a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and British Canoeing (BC) Quality Marked Training Centre and licensed by the Adventure Activities Licensing Service (AALS).


Why a minibus?

Our existing minibus was new in 1993 - that makes it, wait for it... 26 years old. That's more than two and a half times the age of our youngest youth members and older than many of our coaches!

Beginning life in 1993, this Ford Transit 15 seater minibus has had many a derriere on its seats as it has reliably transported our youth members, adults, instructors and volunteers to a plethora of kayaking and sailing events both at home and abroad over the years. Here's just a few of its adventures:

  • to UKSA on the Isle of Wight for our youth summer sailing extravaganzas
  • North Wales, the Thames Valley and Devon for whitewater kayaking
  • Brightlingsea on the east coast of Essex for sailing
  • residential stays whitewater kayaking on the river Dart, Dartmoor
  • Canoe-slalom competitions in Kent, Northamptonshire, Wiltshire and more
  • Taking our teams to the London Youth Games
  • Brighton for sea sailing in Topper & Laser dinghies
  • The Wye Valley in Herefordshire for canoe and kayak touring
  • Visits to the Lee Valley Whitewater Centre – built for the London 2012 Olympics
  • many trips to the south of France for whitewater kayaking on our awesome summer trips for both youngsters and adults.
  • numerous trips to the shops, collecting donated items such as furniture, picking up new outboard engines or dinghies from the dealerships, trips to builders merchants, the list goes on!

All of our trips are subsidised for the youngsters by our charity and many of these trips have been with a full load, fully laden roof rack and a large trailer fulI of canoes, kayaks or sailing dinghies – in fact we’ve had 2 trailers in the time we’ve had this old workhorse.

It has had a good innings and has been well looked after, never wanting for anything mechanically - but sadly it's time has come. In recent times it has broken down a few times, last year leaving a group of kayakers stranded by the roadside in rural France. It’s not economical to keep it going so its time to say goodbye to our trusty steed and get a new one!

The minibus is a resource without which, the cost of each trip would rise – perhaps to a point where they become uneconomical to run or prohibitively expensive for our youth members.


What do we aim to buy?

A brand new minibus costs close to £45k. A 3 year old van with reasonable mileage can be found for £25k. We'll need to get a tow-bar and roof rack fitted too. We're setting our initial target at £15k. If there are enough people out there who value what we do, we might be able to raise the target and stretch to the £25k. If not, we will be in a good position to find corporate match-funding for the remainder.

It's an ambitious goal and if we don't make it to the target, we get NOTHING.

We would love to have this in place for the start of next season so that our intended busy programme of activities can go ahead unhindered and we do not waste further funds rejuvenating our existing minibus which is approaching its use-by date.

We’ve set our sights on a 17-seater with capability to tow a trailer. Obviously safety features will be top of the list but we’re also dreaming of air conditioning and any other luxuries that might be forthcoming in a new vehicle. The additional two seats over our current 15-seater will give us extra capacity - meaning that our trips can be even more economical and affordable for our youngsters.


Why should you help us?

As a charity, completely independent of the council or any unconditional local government funding, we have to raise the money to keep the doors open to young people who we only charge a token £15 per year for youth membership which opens the door to our 5 day a week core activities. Perhaps your child has sailed or kayaked with us and you'd like to give a bit extra?

We raise two thirds of our income via our venue and through adult watersports. The remaining third is raised through actively seeking donations from individuals and corporate sponsorship, applying for grants and any other ways we can think of to get the money in. Unfortunately we have been unsuccessful with applications to raise funds for a minibus so we're turning to crowdfunding as a possible means.

We hope that you can help us...

Corporate support
Once we hit our target of £15k, we're still short of the amount needed to get a decent minibus. We hope to find this through corporate funding support. Perhaps you work for or could open the door to a company that would be interested in supporting our charity and helping to raise funds for this project?


What's in it for you?

Not only will you feel all warm and fuzzy inside from the knowledge that you've done a great service to our community, but if you're a user of WBB and go on our trips, you'll be able to take advantage of the new equipment too.

But not only that! We've also got lots of AWESOME REWARDS available for your pledge so help us to hit our target and make it happen for all our members, users and potential users!

For more on Youth Membership and all the sessions and activities included, click HERE

For more on Powerboat Driving, click HERE

For more on Kayaking sessions, click HERE

For more on Sailing sessions, click HERE

For more on Adult Season tickets click HERE

Our awesome T-shirts (sizes available are Small, Medium, Large and X-Large - until stock runs out).

Typhoon Long-john wetsuits (colours vary):


 Typhoon 5mm winter wetsuit (mens and womens available - colours vary):

Typhoon paddle mitts:

Typhoon sailing gloves (colours vary):

Zero to Hero Instructor Training reward

A training scheme for one of the following sports: dinghy sailing, kayaking and canoeing and powerboating - suitable for someone over the age of 16 years teaching personal skills from beginner to instructor level and providing NGB qualifications. The course will start in April 2020 and conclude end of September 2020. The more you put in, the more you get out.

Sessions provided will be from our 2020 weekly session schedule.

WBB will provide:

  • One personal skills tuition session per week
  • One instructor training session per week
  • All personal skills certificates and others that are pre-requisite for the instructor course (for sailing the applicant must have a minimum RYA level 2 sailing certificate already).
  • RYA or British Canoeing Instructor course (course fees only - course not necessarily run at WBB)



This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£75 or more

11 of 30 claimed

2hr powerboat driving lesson

Learn to drive a powerboat on the Thames in central London with an introductory session. Up to 3 people in the boat with a RYA instructor. A choice of dates will be offered before end of March 2020.

£10 or more

Get a thanks!

Thanks! We'll add your name to our supporters list on our webpage.

£20 or more

6 of 10 claimed

Yoga for watersports

A 45 minute yoga for watersports session suitable for beginners.

£20 or more

9 of 100 claimed

Be entered into our minibus naming competition

Make your entry into our competition to name our new minibus. Boaty McBoat Face will not be considered - but how about Mini McBus Face? ;)

£20 or more

2 of 4 claimed

Gloves for sailing

Typhoon sailing gloves. Neoprene with suede palm for handling ropes. Variety of sizes available

£25 or more

6 of 30 claimed

A WBB T-shirt

Come and collect a WBB logo T-shirt. Variety of sizes until they run out

£35 or more

1 of 25 claimed

T-shirt and a shout out!

A WBB logo T-shirt plus a shout out on our social media.

£40 or more

6 of 10 claimed

Youth Membership 2020-21 plus a T-shirt

Get a youth membership for the coming season - April 2020 through to March 2021 - plus a WBB logo t-shirt. Various sizes available until stock runs out.

£50 or more

1 of 6 claimed

GO Sailing session

A 3 hour taster session for dinghy sailing in April 2020.

£50 or more

2 of 8 claimed

GO Kayak session

A 3 hour kayaking taster session in April 2020.

£50 or more

7 of 10 claimed

Typhoon long-john wetsuit

Collect a Typhoon 3mm neoprene long-john wetsuit - legs but no arms. In stock so you can try for size. Perfect for kayaking through the winter.

£75 or more

0 of 50 claimed

Sign the bus, get a T-shirt and shout out!

Get your signature on the back door of the bus plus a T-shirt and mention on our supporters page

£95 or more

0 of 3 claimed

British Canoeing Paddle Discover course

A course teaching all the basic skills of kayaking and delivering the knowledge to be able to safely continue your development wherever you go. Course during the 2020 season. Dates as advertised on our website.

£130 or more

3 of 50 claimed

Sign, support, social, t-shirt and competition

Sign your name, a mention on the supporters web page, a shout out on social, collect a t-shirt and enter our Mini McBus Face naming competition!

£340 or more

2 of 3 claimed

RYA Level 1 & 2 dinghy sailing course

A Level 1 start sailing course followed by Level 2 Basic Skills course. Each course is 2 days. Redeemable during the 2020 summer season April-October. Dates as advertised on our website.

£350 or more

1 of 6 claimed

RYA Powerboat Level 2 course

A RYA Powerboat Level 2 course on the river Thames with WBB. Dates advertised on our website, must be redeemed before the end of March 2020.

£1,500 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Support the charity

Sign the bus, get an honorable mention on our supporters page and a shout out on social media. A good choice for a company or individual wishing to support our charity and cause.

£1,500 or more

1 of 2 claimed

Zero to Hero Instructor training

Zero to Hero Instructor Training course in either Sailing, Kayak/Canoe or Powerboating. April to September 2020. See project description for details.

£3,000 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Support the charity

Sign the bus, get an honorable mention on our supporters page and a shout out on social media. A good choice for a company or individual wishing to support our charity and cause.

£8,000 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Corporate Logo

Your corporate logo on each side of the minibus. Details to be discussed.

£20 or more

3 of 3 claimed

Yak Paddle Mitts

Keep your hands warm when paddling this winter with a pair of Yak Paddle Mitts. One size fits all.

£50 or more

2 of 2 claimed

1hr powerboat driving lesson

A driving lesson in a powerboat with an instructor. Weekends will be arranged before end of March 2020

£100 or more

5 of 5 claimed

Typhoon Winter 5mm wetsuit

A Typhoon winter-weight 5/4 wetsuit perfect for sailing through the winter. A variety of adult sizes in stock.

£150 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Lunch or dinner for two at the Savoy

A Savoy Privilege Certificate entitling you to a three course lunch or dinner for 2 in Kaspar's restaurant. Valid until 1st Aug 2020. Approx £200 rrp.

£330 or more

3 of 3 claimed

RYA Powerboat Level 2 course

A RYA Powerboat Level 2 course on the river Thames with WBB. Dates advertised on our website, must be redeemed before the end of March 2020.

£895 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Lifetime season ticket

An adult season ticket - for your life-time!

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