Shabana Mahmood MP has thrown her support behind a new paddleboarding initiative to make it easier than ever for people across Birmingham to get on the water at Edgbaston Reservoir this summer.
A £10,000 Sport England Small Grants Award has enabled Sail Birmingham, the community sailing project based at the reservoir, to bring one of the fastest growing watersports, Stand Up Paddleboarding, to the heart of the city.
Sail Birmingham was launched by Midland SC last year to make the water accessible to everyone of any age, background and ability by opening up a new programme of tailor-made and open-access activities for all.
After sailing and watersports were permitted as a form of exercise in mid-May, Sail Birmingham and Midland SC went to great lengths to follow Government guidance and implement COVID-19 protocols so members could get back on the water as soon and as safely as possible.
People of all ages have since enjoyed being back in boats on the reservoir. Now paddleboarding is giving anyone another way to enjoy socially-distanced outdoor activity.
Shabana Mahmood, the MP for Birmingham Ladywood, said: “It’s great to see the introduction of paddleboarding by Sail Birmingham at Edgbaston Reservoir. Being able to get out on the water and enjoy the summer will be a welcome release for many local people and as paddleboarding requires no previous skills or experience, I expect to see lots of families trying watersports for the first time.”
Phil Reeves, Sail Birmingham Manager, continued: “We're striving to bring communities together through great water-based experiences and paddleboarding offers just that. It’s a fantastic way to be active on the water while social distancing as it’s something you can do on your own or as a family.
"Paddleboarding gives you a sense of independence and confidence that takes you out of your comfort zone. All our COVID-19 procedures and systems follow the latest government advice so everyone can be confident we're doing all we can to protect them whilst they enjoy their experience."
Getting active outdoors is proven to positively impact health and mental wellbeing. Paddleboarding is sociable, flexible and fits with people whose lifestyles dictate they want to enjoy less structured leisure activities. As well as being a fantastic activity in its own right, paddleboarding is a brilliant introduction to many other types of watersports, including sailing and windsurfing.
Sail Birmingham’s next Introduction to Paddleboarding session is on Tuesday 21July and costs £20/person. Sessions run throughout the week and can be booked at www.sailbirmingham.com/stand-up-paddleboarding. Group sessions can also be arranged for up to six people while paddleboards are available to rent at £15/hour.
Adam McLean from Midland Sailing Club, said: "As a club we are very aware of staying relevant in a world where people’s time is so precious. We had seen examples of other sailing clubs where paddleboarding had been a success so were keen to bring it to Edgbaston Reservoir and show you don’t need a lot of skills and it’s easy and affordable to get on the water.”
As an RYA Training Centre, Sail Birmingham conforms to the highest standards of quality and safety in sailing. For more information on paddleboarding and all other opportunities at Sail Birmingham visit www.sailbirmingham.com or like Sail Birmingham on Facebook.