A special canal boat used to support South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s mission to help people live life to the full is officially launched today by The Princess Royal.
Promoting Wellbeing through Waterways has been developed in partnership with the charity Safe Anchor Trust to provide canal boat trips for people who use local health services.
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust made a contribution towards the costs of refitting canal boats for the project, with these boats now available for use by Trust services for three years. The boats are moored at Shepley Bridge Marina, Mirfield, with qualified skippers and volunteers provided by the charity for all trips.
The Princess Royal will officially launch the Austen Johnson at the marina today. The Princess Royal is Patron of the national Wooden Spoon charity, the Yorkshirebranch of which made a significant donation towards the refitting of Austen Johnson to enhance Safe Anchor’s work with disadvantaged children.
Steven Michael, chief executive of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said, “We provide mental health, learning disability and community services to a wide range of people across the region. Our service users can feel excluded from opportunities such as these for a variety of reasons, including stigma, social isolation and lack of motivation.
“Promoting Wellbeing through Waterways gives people who use our services the opportunity to enjoy the canal boats on local waterways in a supportive and friendly environment – this can make a tremendous difference to their wellbeing, confidence, social interaction and overall quality of life.
“More and more, the NHS needs to consider less traditional ways to enhance the wellbeing of local people. This project is just one of our Creative Minds initiatives that is enabling people to live life to the full.”
Mike Foot, a Trustee of the Safe Anchor Trust, said, “Our primary aim is to provide boat trips for local community groups which, for reasons such as illness, special needs or social exclusion, would not normally have access to the waterways. Two of our boats have wheelchair access and our volunteers are dedicated to putting people at ease and working with different groups.
“The partnership between South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Safe Anchor Trust offers people the enjoyment of exploring the waterways, a chance to relax and even opportunities to spot local wildlife. This kind of activity – a complete break from the norm for many – can contribute to improved health and wellbeing as well as being a highly enjoyable day out.”