Canal holiday firm set to create ‘tipi wedding’ venue with backing from Rosebud

A family business which offers floating holidays on luxury canal boats is set to expand its business onshore with the help of a £130,000 loan from Lancashire Rosebud Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers.

Canal Boat Cruises, which is based at Riley Green Marina in Hoghton, 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 in response to demand.

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 and enable it to go ahead.

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 Ltd (LCDL), 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.”

County Councillor Michael Green, Cabinet member for economic development, said: “Canal Boat Cruises are a well-established family-run business, which has consistently grown over the years.

“They’re now looking to create the space to grow their business, which will attract new people into the area and create new jobs. We’re proud that Rosebud’s support has helped them to bring their plans together.

“They were previously supported by Rosebud and it is always a strong endorsement of our work when companies choose us to support their future growth plans.”