Helena Lucas MBE was on hand to inspire pupils from Gatten and Lake Primary School and Barton Primary School at UKSA in Cowes yesterday (Monday), as part of the charity’s Year 6 Test the Water Programme.
UKSA’s programme has gone from strength to strength as it enters its third year. Since the programme began in 2014 it has given 2,200 Year 6 pupils (10 and 11-years-old) on the Isle of Wight the free opportunity to get out on the water.
Having just returned from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with a bronze medal, adding to the gold she won in London, Helena joined the pupils sailing sessions to pass on her expert advice.
On the initiative Helena commented:
“It is an amazing scheme they run here, it is crazy to think there are so many kids who live on the Isle of Wight who have never been on the water. It is great to see so many pupils get that opportunity and having fun on the water today. Hopefully this will inspire them to go off and join their local sailing clubs.”
It has always been a key initiative for UKSA to be able to work with all of the Island’s Year 6 pupils and thanks to the generosity of local businesses Red Funnel and Wightfibre, as well as a number of individual supporters, they are able to deliver this programme for the third year running.
For the students, they are at an important part of their lives making the transition from primary to high school. As part of UKSA’s sailing programme the students take to the water to learn the basics of sailing which in turn builds their confidence and self-belief; helping to make their school transition as smooth as possible.
Gatten and Lake Primary School’s Year 6 teacher, Victoria Titchener explained:
“This is such a great initiative for the pupils to be involved with, it really is an opportunity they wouldn’t normally get. It has given them so much more confidence and learning how to work as part of a team is fantastic. For them meeting Helena today was so inspirational, it isn’t every day you get to hold a gold medal!”