HRH meets teachers from the Year 6 Programme
HRH meets teachers from the Year 6 Programme

HRH The Princess Royal visited the Cowes-based youth charity UKSA in celebration of their Year 6 Test the Water programme last Monday, giving the Royal seal of approval to the Isle of Wight programme.

UKSA’s Year 6 Test the Water programme has gone from strength to strength. In the last 2 years they have given 2,200 Year 6 pupils (10 and 11-years-old) on the Isle of Wight the opportunity to get out on the water for free.

During her visit, Princess Anne watched groups of pupils from Lanesend Primary School sail on the Solent. Following this, she spoke to the school’s pupils about their experience of the programme as well as key supporters of the scheme including funding partners Red Funnel, a number of Island Headteachers and UKSA Trustees.

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Headteacher of Lanesend Primary School, Caroline Sice explained:

“It has been our aim that all children attend a six week course here at UKSA to have a go at paddle boarding, kayaking, dinghy and keel boat sailing as well as increasing their water confidence, so we were absolutely thrilled when UKSA received sponsorship to give all island children an opportunity to sail in Year 6.

“Year 6 is such a challenging year for our children. Not only do they have to complete tough National Assessments, they are preparing for their transition from primary to secondary school and we cannot underestimate how big a challenge this is, so to have the opportunity to develop a range of skills and abilities that will help them ‘sail’ through their transition is an opportunity not to be missed”

It was a key initiative for UKSA to be able to work with all of the Island’s Year 6 pupils through the monies raised as official charity to Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM) Cowes Week in 2014 and Red Funnel Ferries in 2015. Following the launch of their new Red Jet 6, Red Funnel Ferries CEO Kevin George announced their support:

“In 2015, £35,000 was raised by Red Funnel customers and staff, to support UKSA and to help the year 6 programme. As a ferry operator to the Isle of Wight we care passionately about the Island and its future – the future is of course the children. Working with UKSA and the schools has been hugely valuable not only for the children but for Red Funnel as well. As a consequence we want to remain deeply involved in the programme for the 2016/17 year 6 students. I am therefore delighted to announce a new £10,000 donation to the project.”

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Ben Willows, UKSA CEO has said:

“It was a real honour to have our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal join us to celebrate the success of the programme so far. It’s been fantastic to see our objective become a reality over the past two years and we intend to build on these successes, we ask any Isle of Wight businesses or individuals to make contact if they are interested in joining Red Funnel to enable us to continue providing these young people an opportunity to experience the sea.

“Despite being surrounded by water, many young Island people don’t actually get onto the water very often, if at all, and they don’t get to experience how much fun it can be and how much it can instil confidence and self-belief.”

Looking ahead to the 2016/2017 programme UKSA are looking for interested parties to support the new cohort of students. If interested, contact Emma James, Head of Fundraising on [email protected]

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