Local Community News

ISLE OF WIGHT SCHOOLS EMBRACE SAILING INITIATIVE

uksayear6sailing2Island youngsters have been taking to the water with UKSA thanks to a programme to get all Year 6 pupils involved with sailing.

In January 2014, UKSA were unveiled as the official charity of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. Their pledge to help all-comers get involved in the regatta and using the monies raised to give all year six pupils (10 & 11 years old) on the Isle of Wight the opportunity to get out on the water.

As a Youth Charity based on the Isle of Wight, it was a key initiative for UKSA to be able to work with all of the Island’s Year six pupils. The young people are at an important part of their lives making the transition from primary to senior school. Through UKSA’s sailing programme they are able to gain confidence and self-belief to make this transition as smooth as possible.

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Over the year since the ‘Year 6 programme’ began the outcomes have been highly successful. Over £35,000 was raised during Cowes Week 2014 which has enabled UKSA to deliver their objective.
Over the last seven months over 1123 year six pupils have taken to the water.

Cowes Primary School was the first school to take part in the initiative in October 2014. The students were lucky enough to be hosted by UKSA ambassador and London 2012 Paralympic Gold Medallist Helena Lucas. Since then, Helena has been selected as Team GB’s first athlete to represent the country at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Helena explained:

“I remember when I first got in a boat, it was something I thoroughly enjoyed and it transformed my life. It is great to see pupils taking to the water for the first time for free through this great initiative by UKSA. As an ambassador for UKSA, I really support grassroots development and the opportunities UKSA provide to young people are second to none.”

Move on five months and Nine Acres Primary School were the last school to pass though the free UKSA programme on the 22nd May. During the session the students took to the water learning the basics of sailing which also provided them life enhancing skills through a sense of adventure.

Simon Davies, Director of Youth Development and Fundraising explained:

“We promised to give this opportunity to each of the Island’s year six pupils and we are elated that we have. We are extremely proud to be the Official Charity to Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and it’s only through this relationship we have been able to achieve this milestone. It’s fantastic to see our objective become a reality and provide those young people an opportunity to experience the sea.”

As a leading youth charity, UKSA recognises the challenges faced by young people today. For this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week the charity’s focus will be to fundraise £100,000 to provide transformational opportunities to 100 young people from diverse backgrounds through their youth development programmes. These programmes help bridge the gap between difficult periods in their lives by way of an unforgettable adventure to deliver a lifelong impact.

Information on UKSA’s fundraising activities for the August event can be found at http://uksa.org/aberdeen-asset-management-cowes-week-charity.

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