Workplace Matters, an ecumenical charity which takes Christian values into the workplace, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Canal & River Trust (CRT). This MoU cements the continuing development of the Waterways Chaplaincy, a service which helps boaters to cope with the difficulties they face. Under the MoU, the Trust is supporting Workplace Matters (WM) to help maintain the waterways chaplaincy, and has also pledged expert assistance to help WM with fundraising for the longer term.
Workplace Matters has 50 years’ experience of providing chaplaincy services in many contexts and, with initial support from the Salvation Army, is providing effective support for boaters in difficulty along the canals of the south east. Its volunteer chaplains have already established a reputation for providing friendship and support to boaters in any kind of need, regardless of faith.
The Rev Dr John Scott, CEO of Workplace Matters, commented: “We recognise that faith is deeply entwined with every aspect of community and working life. Our chaplains are committed to the challenging but rewarding calling of working with, and praying for, the well-being of everyone connected with the waterways, regardless of their religious faith or cultural background. I’m delighted that this agreement marks a more formal recognition of this unique personal level of support that’s impossible to get anywhere else.”
The CRT estimates that some 7,000 boats on its waters are currently used as homes.
A small but, it appears, growing proportion of their owners suffer from physical or mental health problems, alcohol or drug addiction, or other difficulties which make them more likely to come to the attention of enforcement officers for breaches of licensing rules. These cases are often complex and benefit from support from relevant organisations such as councils, social services and other agencies, including WM.