The RYA has awarded £150,000 of Sport England funding to OnBoard & Sailability clubs and centres to help reduce the negative impact of Covid-19 and the inequalities in sport and physical activity. Through this funding the venues have been given individual grants of up to £10,000 that will be used for projects which engage with:

  • Lower socio-economic groups
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities
  • Disabled People
  • People with long term health conditions

As an RYA Recognised Training Centre and OnBoard Club, CSC will be working in conjunction with Croydon Youth and Schools Sailing Association (CYSSA) to provide sailing opportunities for local scout groups. Giving young people between the ages of 8 and 14, living in deprived areas surrounding the club, the chance to get out on the water and for many, experience their first ever taste of sailing.

The training centre hit the ground running in October by providing taster sailing sessions when the weather allowed. Thanks to the early start, 42 local young people took part, with 25 kayaking sessions (due to strong winds CSC teamed up with the Scout’s canoe instructors and converted some sailing to kayaking sessions) and ten RYA Stage 1 Dinghy sailing certificates were awarded.

CSC has also found that many youngsters turn up ill prepared for water sports and the cooler conditions: they often do not possess suitable outdoor clothing. The funding has allowed the club to purchase a large selection of waterproof outfits which helps keep them dry and comfortable – vital to helping the youngsters enjoy their first experience of sailing. New footwear has also been invaluable, as they can go home in their own dry shoes which sometimes are the only pair they own.

The funding is critical to allow CSC to run taster sessions that youngsters enjoy, as Janice Beaumont, Croydon Sailing Club RYA Training Centre Principal, adds: “We want the first taster session to be an enjoyable experience so that they can come back to join in regular sessions. Funding has enabled us to achieve this aim.”

CSC is already seeing many positive changes, as Janice explains: “One parent told me how her daughter’s confidence had improved, as when she brought her along to the lake she could see she wasn’t keen but later that day her daughter told her that she’d had a really good time and wanted to do it again.

“Some children need that extra encouragement to have a go, so offering free taster sessions with all equipment provided and pizza lunch is a good way to get over any reluctance to turn up.”

Janice concludes: “It is a rapid pace initiating youngsters into a half day of sailing under Covid restrictions and we aim to maximise their time out on the water. Instructors have seen spontaneous teamwork taking place to get the boats rigged and launched whilst adhering to social distancing. They develop independence taking to the water for the first time as single-handed sailors and learn much from observing and showing each other how to do certain tasks. On the Stage 1 course we found the team games brought out elements of creativity and cooperation.”

Find out more about RYA OnBoard and Croydon Sailing Club