Trimpley Sailing Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary by getting more local youngsters afloat after gaining the national RYA OnBoard seal of approval.

RYA OnBoard is the national grassroots scheme making it easier and cheaper to get more young people aged 8-18 on the water by providing low cost sessions through schools, youth groups and families. Kids can get afloat for as little as a fiver and they use the club’s boats so don’t need their own.

Having received official OnBoard recognition earlier this year, Bewdley-based Trimpley SC, where British Sailing Team Laser Radial star and two-time Olympian, Alison Young, learned the ropes, has been working with Wolverley CE Secondary School near Kidderminster and introduced no fewer than 25 youngsters to sailing. The club’s next junior course in September is also filling up quickly.

Last year, a landmark project between sailing’s national governing body, the RYA and Professor Bill Lucas, Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester, identified how sailing nurtures six key character strengths in young people - confidence, teamwork, communication, determination, independence and creativity.

Neil Spokes, Trimpley SC Commodore, said: “We’ve been delighted with how OnBoard has taken off. The children feel like they’re part of a club within a club; an old viewing shed has been converted to a junior training den near the waters edge and its all been branded up OnBoard giving junior sailing an identity of its own. The social power of children being with their friends can’t be underestimated when you want them to stick at a new activity.

“By following the RYA’s Start Sailing scheme, they can develop new skills each week. This builds their confidence greatly and some of the children often then wish to race in the afternoon. What sailing can do for young people goes beyond the notion of ‘sport’; it’s everything else that comes from being on the water in a boat. As well as the physical and mental benefits of having fun in the fresh air, sailing is proven to develop key life skills in young people."

Trimpley are already looking to extend their OnBoard activities with a local Scout group interested in getting involved, while Neil admits that with the enthusiasm the youngsters have been showing in their Sunday morning sessions more mums and dads have wanted to leant to sail too.

He added: "OnBoard is a good scheme; it rewards, encourages and formalises what is taught and provides all the bells and whistles that children like, such as wristbands, stickers, pens, certificates, water bottles and logbooks. With children you are offering a life experience, it's a long game.”

Alistair Dickson, RYA Director of Sport Development, said: “We are delighted to welcome Trimpley SC to OnBoard. OnBoard is about fun and enjoyment, while our work with Professor Lucas highlighted the broader learning benefits sailing teaches, which youngsters can take with them off the water and into many other aspects of their lives. It is fantastic more youngsters around Kidderminster now have these opportunities on their doorsteps.”

Trimpley SC is a recognised RYA Training Centre, meaning it conforms to the highest standards of safety and quality. Since 2005, OnBoard has helped over three quarters of a million young people try sailing and windsurfing and learn an activity that often stays with them for life. Are you a local school or youth group interested in getting your young people OnBoard? Visit www.trimpleysailingclub.co.uk for more information.