I became disabled a few years ago and have found it difficult to find employment since, however I have still continued being involved with boats and working on boats doing various unpaid and at cost restoration projects mainly for people who are struggling with disabilities or finances or who may be vulnerable in some way but who love their boats and gain a great deal of personal comfort and pride from their boats. Conventional marine services tend to be very expensive and sometimes daunting with owners often being ' persuaded ' that they need far more work done than is actually needed. I have even been called as witness against these practices in court and have saved owners from thousands of pounds in un-necessary costs.
Over the last few years I have helped a number of people save money by going to them to do the work they need where they keep their boats instead of them having to resort to taking their boats to boatyards or marinas at great cost and difficulty to themselves. This however is rather difficult as often these boats are on moorings with no road access and includes people who are classed as continuous cruisers and have to move their boats every fourteen days. This has made it incredibly difficult to transport my tools and any equipment needed to potential customers.
This is made even more difficult as many of the people I work for either live on their boats or their boats are just to small for me to leave tools, equipment and materials on their boats.
I have a number of potential customers waiting that means I could start working full time if it were not for the difficulties of actually getting to their boats what has become clear is that to progress and make this full time employment what I need is a floating workshop, toolbox, material store! in other words I need a boat so that I can go to my customers and have all my tools, equipment and materials at hand, I could even follow any continuous cruisers each time they have to move.
This is what I need funding for I have everything else and the boat would make it all possible, because of my skills, training and experience I do not need an expensive, posh or big boat but just a floating box almost, and although this would only cost a few thousand pounds I unfortunately do not have access to this and to be able to offer affordable services a loan would not work.
Another element to my plan is that I do not see disabilities as inabilities I have already been able to offer a limited amount of work to other people with disabilities and if I could expand to full time I would be able to offer more in fact I would prioritise employing people with disabilities.
over the years I have discovered that there is a misconception surrounding boats especially relevant on our wonderful inland waterways that anyone who owns a boat is rich I have found that this is often not true! in fact many people who own boats are not rich because they own a boat and sadly they end up having to part with their dream because of the cost of keeping it, this makes me sad because it does not have to be like this and I could help so many people keep their dream or as in the case of the last person I helped stop them losing out.
This particular case involved an elderly lady whos husband sadly passed away leaving her with a rather run down but beautiful old narrowboat, the moment people knew her husband had passed away the sharks started circling and she was offered between eight and ten thousand for the boat luckily friends of the lady talked her out of selling at that price and advised her to get a quote to do the boat up, this the lady did and contacted various professional builders/boatyards and she was quoted between sixteen and twenty thousand to bring the boat up to standard this poor lady could not afford that sort of investment but luckily someone referred her to me I brought her boat up to standard for around four thousand and now it has been valued at forty nine thousand. She is very happy. so am I, I believe I can offer a fair service at a fair price but I need your help to achieve this.
I would like to add that my belief in supporting people with disabilities comes not just from becoming disabled myself but also from having two disabled children and a wife who is disabled, we have always strived as a family to be fully active and to live life to the full but I have seen first hand how difficult it can be for people with disabilities to find and keep worthwhile employment I hope to be able to offer employment that works around a persons disability not expect a person to have to adjust to suit the job.
just a note to say that the pandemic we are all struggling with has left many of my target customers in an even more difficult position, in most cases these are liveaboards their boats are their homes and there is a real danger that many could loose them partly due to the in my mind extraordinarily high cost of basic repairs and maintenance but also the inevitable huge backlog of available services and yard space caused by the pandemic, I have a genuine desire to help as many of these people as I can, yes I need to cover my operational costs and yes I have to make a living but no I do not need to make huge profits just provide a fair service at a fair price.
Lastly this site has recommended having social media accounts to further my cause for marketing etc but I do not have any and do not intend to. My social media is the people I meet and my marketing is word of mouth and for me this is very affective, people I have helped are always pleased and they tell other people this has already created at least a year of potential work.
I hope to be ready to start the moment the lockdown is over and we can start getting back to ' normal'
Thank you for taking the time to read my proposal.