The Wheelyboat Trust

Petworth, West Sussex 

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The Wheelyboat Trust put digital fundraising plans in place

The Wheelyboat Trust is a small charity that achieves great things: they provide disabled people with freedom and independence on the water. Fundraising is their most important activity and, like many small charities, they wanted to diversify their income by raising more funds from individuals online.

We all have interests and hobbies that make us happy. And most of us pursue them without a second thought.  But imagine being denied the opportunity to take part in an experience because you have a disability.

This is an issue The Wheelyboat Trust tackles. They help disabled people get on the water to do what they love.

Formed in 1984 and originally called the Handicapped Anglers Trust, their work benefits people of all ages with a wide range of sensory, learning and mobility impairments.

"In their myriad forms, boats, boating and waterborne pursuits have an enormous attraction and play a key role in the lives of many. However, opportunities for disabled people to participate are few and far between. The Wheelyboat Trust aims to redress this balance and give disabled people the chance to pursue their favourite activities afloat. They provide a wonderful service and long may they continue."
- Sir Matthew Pinsent CBE, Patron

Raising funds for Wheelyboats

Wheelyboats are hand crafted and built to order. These uniquely designed wheelchair-accessible boats can be operated independently by disabled people and are used to give learning and sensory impaired people of all ages access to being on the water.

Today there are 197 Wheelyboats on lochs, lakes, rivers, canals and reservoirs all over the UK, giving hundreds of disabled people the opportunity to take part in their favourite waterborne activities.

Andy and Lucy from Wheelyboat Trust

The Wheelyboat Trust is a team of two. Andy Beadsley is the one full time staff member and he works alongside part-timer Lucy Lloyd.

Raising funds to build the boats is the most important and time consuming work they do. As Andy explains, “Raising funds to discount their cost has been our policy from the outset and helps ensure that Wheelyboat supply and availability is maximised across the UK.”

The Wheelyboat Trust recognises the importance of diverse sources of income

Most of the money Andy and Lucy raise comes as grants from trusts and foundations. But, like so many charities, they know that diverse sources of income are important to sustain the organisation.

So when they had a new website build in September 2018, it was the perfect time to look at how they could use digital fundraising to raise more funds from individuals.

They started using CAF Donate to fundraise for Wheelyboats not long after.

“We’re a CAF Bank customer” Andy tells us. “And we were already using CAF Donate to process CAF Charity Vouchers that we’d received from donors and supporters. So it made perfect sense to make use of the fundraising features of CAF Donate. Especially as there are no monthly fees”.

The team use CAF Donate to set up fundraising campaigns for each Wheelyboat

Each Wheelyboat they raise funds for has its own separate donation page. This lets them build a campaign around each project and share the page with the partners they’re working with. It also makes reporting easier as Andy and Lucy can track and monitor the funds going to each specific project.

For one of the current live projects they are working with Accessible Derbyshire and Ladybower fisheries. The target is to raise enough funds to buy a Coulam Wheelyboat V17so that people with disabilities can enjoy pleasure boating on a glorious reservoir in the Peak District.

Coulam Wheelyboat V17

The team also uses the platform to raise money to fund operational costs

The operational costs of bringing new Wheelyboat projects to fruition are entirely reliant on donations. So, in addition to projects, Andy is also using CAF Donate to receive regular donations from individuals to fund the charity’s running costs.

So far the funds they’ve raised from individuals have been small in comparison to the grants they receive. But with the new website, and the ability to receive donations online in place, Andy is confident this is a source of income that will continue to grow.

Wheelyboats in use

At the time we spoke to Andy they were working on 14 Wheelyboat projects. To find out more about their work you can visit their website:  

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