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Manvers Waterfront Boat Club

Manvers initially set out to be a canoe club, but with investment and lots of volunteering support it's transitioned into a thriving multi-sports club and boathouse used by the local and wider community.

Name of project / organisation

Manvers Waterfront Boat Club

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Sport / activity


The initial spark for building Manvers came from the Yorkshire region of Canoe England, which had been looking for a venue to develop.

Chris Hawkesworth, who leads facility developments for Canoe England, saw an article in the Yorkshire Post newspaper about a former colliery site being redeveloped, with the creation of a lake. He saw an opportunity to create a new model of multi-sport boat club.

The desire was to build a resource centre for the region. There was a belief in the potential to develop a multi-sport approach that combined different paddle/watersports, and some taster events, but there had been no specific local market research.

There was no other local option for swimming and activities have been added as knowledge of the audience has grown – and the organisation has responded to demand.

A boy playing canoe polo

In 2014, it successfully bid for funding to create a new boat and equipment store and also made improvements to the boat house.

It's now a highly sustainable building, with heat source and solar energy, and has recruited large numbers of volunteers. It also developed partnerships with organisations such as Deane Valley College, which co-funds staff posts.

The club now has an annual membership fee of £60, which allows members to take part in any or all of nine sports on offer – from paddling, open water swimming and triathlon, to angling, cycling and running. This ‘one club’ philosophy means people can find their way into different activities far more easily, with members joining to take part in one activity and going on to try other sports.

Manvers also stage community events, such as the Spooky Paddle, and the lake has high numbers of casual/non-member use. The club makes a surplus of around £30,000 a year and the Trust has a diverse income basis, with no one stream accounting for more than 20% of revenue.

To find out more about the project, please click the link below. 

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