The community ferry boats bringing local people in Bristol together 364 days a year

Based in Bristol Docks, Bristol Community Ferry Boats offer a fleet of five ferry boats to help local people and visitors get around the city quickly and discover the historic waterways. Alongside running a timetabled ferry service an impressive 365 days a year, they improve the lives of local people. They help young unemployed people train as skippers and crew members, and combat social isolation felt by many elderly residents by providing a safe space to come together.

We provided a grant of £256,875 including £7,500 of business development support, to ensure Bristol Community Ferry Boats have a sustainable future. The grant will enable them to replace one of their oldest boats with a new environmentally clean electric boat, providing 10 additional seats, a more comfortable experience for passengers, extra private hire trips and additional school trips.

How did they do it?

Bristol Community Set up in 2013 as a community benefit society after a public share offer in which 874 Bristol residents and others bought shares of a minimum of £100 each and a maximum of £1000, so the company would not be dominated by large shareholdings. Each member receives one vote irrespective of number of shares. The Board is made up of 10 members, with 3 stepping down annually and their replacements being elected by members at AGMs.