Re-Union Canal Boats is a social enterprise in Edinburgh and Falkirk operating across the Union and Forth & Clyde Canals.
Jay Lamb and Sam Baumber founded Re-Union in 2003 whilst living afloat on the Union Canal. They experienced first hand the canal’s regeneration as part of the Millennium Link Project and recognised that cruising powered craft on the canal was becoming an exclusive pursuit.
If this were to be addressed, one of two things needed to happen. Either a community worker needed to recognise the potential of the canal and get interested in boats, or the boating community needed to recognise this impending exclusivity and get interested in the local community.
With experience of boating and community education, Sam and Jay were uniquely placed to build a canal boat that would make cruising on the canal available to all, regardless of circumstance.
In spring 2004, with the support of three social investors and over 1,000 volunteer hours the first Re-Union boat was launched.
Following this successful pilot Re-Union decided to go forward with their plan and in autumn 2008, the new 60ft widebeam barge was launched, increasing capacity, improving services and realising our potential.
In 2013 Re-Union Canal Boats purchased the Jaggy Thistle to operate as Day Boat Hire for the general public. This allowed those interested in experiencing the canals and the Falkirk Wheel to take their own boat out for the day.
In 2014 our successful Canal Community Health All Round project launched in Falkirk giving us two bases of operation.
In April 2015 two exciting projects were launched in Falkirk. Our Employability project JCP Falkirk and our Lockkeeping and complete general maintenance canal works contract which allowed our volunteers to play an active, vital role in keeping the canal system operating.
Lots of activity in 2016 and early 2017 saw Re-Union launch a pilot scheme for a venue boat in Falkirk (Investing in Ideas) for 2016/2017, Support from Cycling Scotland with funding a Bikes Along the Canal project 2016/2017 where the aim was to provide access to bikes for all of our existing volunteers, to our prospective volunteers and other community groups to increase the number of people using the canal tow paths of the Forth & Clyde Canal and the launch of the Edinburgh employability program JCP Edinburgh.
We were also successful in receiving a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for our Union Canal Unlocked project. Working with Scottish Waterways Trust and Scottish Canals the project will create a guide to the history, features and changes of the Union Canal.
Re-Union bring people together to develop their skills, learn from one another and realise their potential whilst maintaining and promoting the canal as a remarkable asset for the community.