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Community focused boat cruise and wedding company continues expansion after Rosebud loans

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A Lancashire boat hire company which has diversified into weddings and other events is continuing to expand its operations with the support of two loans from Rosebud.

Canal Boat Cruises, based at Riley Green Marina, Hoghton allows customers to hire canal boats for special occasions, events, romantic dinners and holidays. The company purchased land adjacent to the site then developed this into a wedding venue with the help of a £130,000 loan from Rosebud which it secured in 2018. Both businesses, Canal Boat Cruises and The Tipis at Riley Green, saw a difficult two years during Covid-19, but said the support from Rosebud also helped the companies to keep their staff working throughout the period.

Lesley Yates, director, said: “Our wedding and events business had to close fully for 18 months. We opened the tipis last April and were able to use them for some smaller gatherings but the remaining money from the Rosebud loan meant we could keep our staff on. “This year, as well as a huge number of weddings, we are hoping to do more corporate events and also more to help the local community.”

Rosebud is owned by Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lancashire County Council. It aims to support the growth of Lancashire businesses and the local economy, offering loans between £10,000 and £300,000 as well as high-quality business support. As well as the loan the company received in 2018, Canal Boat Cruises also benefitted from a Rosebud Micro loan in 2015 to help it grow. With the support of the two loans, the business has grown in total from eight members of staff to 25 and is continuing its expansion. “All businesses know that securing your longevity means always looking for new opportunities to enhance the business,” added Lesley.

“We are currently evaluating a number of different ways to expand our offering.” Canal Boat Cruises is also playing an increasingly important role in its local community. Lesley said: “We do quite a lot of charity events. We’ve done some with the Blackburn with Darwen Foster Carers Association as well as supporting homeless people and those less fortunate by providing activities such as archery. “The exposure the business is gaining from our growth allows us to do some really nice things. It is becoming a hub for the community. The local choir practice at our tipis each Monday which is important in helping those who may be elderly and isolated to get out of the house.” 

County councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, Lancashire County Council, said: “It’s great to see growing Lancashire businesses at the heart of their local communities. “I’m proud that Lancashire County Council has been able to support Canal Boat Cruises as the business has diversified and expanded. I look forward to continuing to follow their story over the coming years.”

Jonathan Nelson, senior loan manager, Rosebud, said: “We often see businesses who we have supported through Rosebud returning and continuing to use our support at different stages of their business journey. “Canal Boat Cruises is a great example of how a company can work with Rosebud on multiple occasions to grow through diversification.”

Rosebud is delivered by GC Business Finance. Businesses in Lancashire’s 12 local authority areas are eligible for the funding: Burnley; Chorley; Fylde; Hyndburn; Lancaster; Pendle; Preston; Ribble Valley; Rossendale; South Ribble; West Lancashire; Wyre.


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