Family canal boat firm expands onshore thanks to loan

Canal Cruises

A family business which specialises in floating holidays on canal boats is set to expand its business onshore with the help of a £130,000 loan.

Lancashire Rosebud Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers, has backed Canal Boat Cruises, which is based at Riley Green Marina in Hoghton.

The firm is developing an eight-acre site alongside the marina, with four giant tipis to host weddings and functions, an outdoor learning and activity centre and a new cafe.

It is also extending the number of moorings it rents at the marina from 25 to almost 50.

The development will create 12 full-time jobs.

The firm has already secured planning permission and has been awarded a £98,000 grant towards the cost of the work from the Rural Development Programme for England

The Rosebud loan will help to make up the shortfall.

Canal Boat Cruises was founded in 2006 by former engineer John Yates and his wife Lesley, who had worked in the travel industry.

The firm, which currently employs seven full-time staff including the couple’s three children and ten seasonal workers, offers short breaks on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and ‘wine and dine’ cruises.

Rosebud Finance is managed by Mercia Fund Managers on behalf of Lancashire County Developments, the county council’s development arm.

Peter Rooney, investment manager with Mercia, said: “Canal Boat Cruises is one of the most diverse businesses of its type in the North, offering everything from moorings and boat trips to holidays and a floating restaurant.

“The new development will allow it to extend its services, offer a novel new venue for weddings and events and help to boost Lancashire’s growing tourism and leisure industry.”