Waterways Chaplaincy

Supporting the river and canal community

In the winter, with freezing temperatures, life on the water is especially tough. As a vital part of the Church Army family, the Waterways Chaplaincy serves as a lifeline for those who consider the waterways their home. They offer essential practical, pastoral, and spiritual support to anyone in need. In times of desperation, they are a beacon of hope and compassion. 

What is Waterways Chaplaincy?

Waterways Chaplains offers support to those who use and live on the UK waterways and canals. Chaplains are volunteers from local churches who regularly visit the waterways offering companionship and a listening ear to individuals and businesses.

What does Waterways Chaplaincy do?

“I can’t thank you all enough and my local surgery for recommending I contact you and a higher power for helping out too. I feel very privileged to have been given the help and support I’ve received when I needed it most otherwise it could have been a very different outcome. You have categorically SAVED A LIFE! God bless you all.” Boater H, Buckby Locks

Donate to Waterways Chaplaincy

Chris Upton, LEAD WaterWays Chaplain, writes…

Our rivers and canals are home to many different types of people. As many don’t have a fixed address, it’s difficult to open a banking account, claim any benefits, access healthcare and/or employment.


One lady contacted me saying “The only reason I haven’t killed myself is because I’m scared of what might happen to my dog. Now, I’m scared I’ll die anyway, and he’ll be trapped in the boat with my body. I’ve lost my job, I’ve no money, the engine has died and I’ve no money for paraffin for my stove. We’re waking up in ice. I can’t see where any hope is going to come from.”

Through our network, we were able to get her basic provisions, take her to a local café and collect a food parcel for her. She’s been able to get on universal credit, register with a local job centre, and we have kept in communication with her, also supporting her with repairs to her boat. She messaged me recently; “you really did help me carry on when I couldn’t see a way through! Thank you!”