Plain sailing!

So much good stuff has happened it’s hard to know where to start!

For every pound of the £25K granted by City of York Council last year, we’ve attracted well over a pound from the community. In fact the current total of financial and in-kind support comes to around £29,600 – that’s just since we bought the barge in August. We’re delighted that people – individuals and companies – have connected with the project and want to be part of making it happen – it’s what we hoped would happen once the barge was bought.

DSC_1046Swinton boatyard owners Tony and Steve Waddington (who we bought the barge from) surprised us by paying for a huge chunk of the works to the hull, including cleaning and welding. They stepped in after we bought the barge but didn’t have the funds to complete initial works – they even found the ideal man for the job! We were really lucky that Karl Acaster was available to do that work. Karl’s family firm Acaster Water Transport has been around for a lot of years – Karl is 5th generation bargeman and has spent all of his adult life working alongside his dad Graham doing all aspects of river work including dredging, towage and ship repairs. But there’s more to him than just repairs – he’s an absolute mine of knowledge about everything to do with these barges and we’re hoping that he’ll be involved in the whole refit until opening – both in terms of practical hands-on work but also as a consultant on everything barge-related.

Hempel Paints generously donated all of the paint for the underside of the barge – worth a total of £1500. We then had word that MGDUFF would supply us with all 8 anodes we needed (anodes are what prevents corrosion of the hull – they have to be changed every few years) at a red painttotal value of £864 – fantastic support from these companies!

We’ve also made links with a major multi-national company which has strong links in the area and has agreed to sponsor the project – we’ll tell you more about that once the details are finalised.

We’ve been approached by two private investors who have offered a zero-interest loan of £15K to help us with the next phase of work – we’ve so far accepted half of this and will review the situation once we’ve heard about other funding decisions we’re pursuing.

We registered as a company in 2012 and are now in the process of applying to become a charity. We’re currently identifying suitable people for the board of trustees, with a focus on representatives from the business, professional and creative communities who will advocate strongly on behalf of the project.

While we’ve all previously managed to work on the project around our other jobs and commitments, it’s now critical that we find funding which will help us through the next year or so until the barge opens. We’re in the process of applying to the  Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for funding to cover staffing and overhead costs for the next 3 years.

For the capital aspect of the project (completing the build) we’ll be approaching Arts Council England as well as continuing to create links with business in order to achieve as much match-funding as possible. We aim to treble the amount pledged by the council with match-funding from a variety of sources.

The business plan is almost complete – we’re now working with CGA accountants who have an excellent track record of working with arts-related organisations and a very realistic take on what we can expect to turn over once up and running. At the moment it’s looking extremely positive – we’ve already upped our estimate on the number of full time posts we’re likely to create in light of the increased capacity of the barge.

As always, get in touch with us if you think you can offer anything to help.

Unfortunately, we can’t allow anyone to do any direct work on the barge at this stage because of dry dock insurance issues. But if you think you might be able to contribute goods or equipment or any other practical stuff let us know. Equally if you know of any funding you think we’d fit, including any potential sponsors, please get in touch.


Marcia, Hannah. Christian, Steve and Jane

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