A canal boat which helps alcoholics and drug users into recovery has set sail from Accrington.
The ‘LUF Boat’ launched from Enfield Wharf in Clayton-le-Moors on Monday and will travel down canals in Accrington and East Lancashire inviting those with drug and alcohol problems aboard to receive information and advice.
The Lancashire User Forum (LUF) boat is the brainchild of former Accrington resident Kirk Ryder, 42, aka ‘Captain Kirk’.
Kirk, who is a manager with LUF’s Red Rose Recovery project, said the idea was to use the canals to create a recovery “revolution”, with help from health and social care charity CRI.
Kirk, who is a recovering alcoholic himself, said: “The idea of Red Rose Recovery is to promote recovery from addiction and increase understanding and awareness.
“The canal boat idea came from members of LUF and with investment from the probation service, police and CRI we were able to get a 30ft narrow boat, and a team of Red Rose Recovery volunteers helped renovate the boat.”
Kirk, who now lives in Bacup, added: “The canalways in East Lancashire are quite close to built up urban areas and they are quite secluded places where isolated people can get out of the way.
“But by using a canal boat we can reach them.
“We can use these great assets which brought the industrial revolution and bring a recovery revolution.”
The boat will remain in Accrington for the foreseeable future, but Kirk plans on taking the boat as far as Lancaster.
He said: “We want to get far and wide and give people advice and information and offer them training to get them away from addiction. My vision is that the boat will be moving seven days a week and people can hop on and hop off and get support.”
Volunteers on the boat will also be working with the Canal and River Trust to clean up areas of canal or river and make them more ‘environmentally friendly, safer and more pleasant for people to visit or walk along’.
For more information about the scheme visit www.redroserecovery.org.uk