Free boat trip for deaf community on London’s canals


Eco-friendly boat company GoBoat London has today launched its “Community Cruises” initiative to support displaced communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme, which sees regular free boat trips and guided tours provided to the capital’s vulnerable and isolated population, aims to help improve the social and interpersonal skills and mental health of those who have been most affected by the ongoing pandemic.

Every Tuesday for the rest of the year, GoBoat will be providing free boat trips to any displaced communities who want to utilise the initiative and benefit from the experience. Guests can enjoy, one, two or three hour trips on the electric picnic boats and enjoy a leisurely cruise, providing a sense of inclusivity and bridge the gap between communities.

Empowering Deaf Society, the charity run by deaf people for deaf people, is the first to take advantage of the scheme in Paddington, London.

Empowering Deaf Society founder Mangai Sutharsan said: “We are delighted to be associated with GoBoat’s ‘Community Cruises’ project and believe that it is a constructive effort towards supporting displaced communities and those under real or perceived threat by improving social and interpersonal skills, mental health and reducing anti-social behaviour. ”

The deaf community has been severely affected by the pandemic and barriers such as face masks have prevented many from being able to socialise. The hope is that the ‘Community Cruises’ will help to bring back a sense of unity, trust and inclusivity to the deaf community.

Sutharsan continued: “The pandemic has severely affected the self-confidence of the Deaf community who have become hesitant of getting involved in shared activities due to the barriers faced by mask-wearing. We strongly believe this project will bring about change and foster a sense of unity, optimism and trust, inclusivity and being stronger together as well as bridging the gap between communities.”

Using interpreters, GoBoat is putting on visual guided tours for members of the Empowering Deaf Society. The programme is not only for the deaf but open to all displaced communities affected by covid. London charity Blind Aid will also be utilising the initiative, with GoBoat providing verbal tours for the blind and visually impaired.

GoBoat Head of Marketing, Ryan Price, said: “It’s been a really tough year for a lot of people but particularly the vulnerable and isolated. Having been a part of the London and Paddington community for four years now, we wanted to take this opportunity to give back to those who need it most. We hope that our free ‘Community Cruises’ initiative goes some way to helping those who have been affected most in being ready for the new normal.”

The Empowering Deaf Society is an amazing charity and do some great work so what a better way to kick off the initiative. We look forward to working with and helping them moving forward but also helping wider displaced communities. If anyone in the London area or further afield would like to take advantage of the Community Cruises, then please do get in touch. We’d love to help offer up our boating experience.”