Children’s Kayak Charitable Trust
Sponsor: Aztec Watersports
Length of scheme: 3 years
The Children’s Kayak Charitable Trust is a charity, set up by a Worcester policeman, aimed at providing opportunities for children in the Worcester area to experience canoe kayaking.
In 2001 the Trust obtained £1,180 in sponsorship from Aztec Watersports, a local watersports retailer. They matched this with a Sportsmatch award and ran a three year project offering free kayak coaching to children from 12 local schools. The coaching was open to all children aged between 8 and 12, and included funding for training new instructors.
Over the three years the project coached over 1,000 children, providing coaching in basic kayak skills. From its first year providing coaching in two local swimming pools, the project expanded, taking children kayaking on the River Avon in the second year. In the final year of the scheme, the Trust teamed up with Youth Afloat to provide 60 children from deprived backgrounds to participate in a programme of outdoor sports, including kayaking, mountain biking, archery, windsurfing and orienteering. At the end of the programe, the 12 most deserving and committed children were selected to go on a week’s sailing in the Channel Islands with the Tall Ships Race.
In addition, 10 volunteers took British Canoe Union qualifications, thereby providing the Trust with an extra eight qualified support staff. Strong links were established with Flabury Canoe Club and Whichaven District Canoe Club, and children from the programme were offered the opportunity to join the clubs.
The project has been a great success, providing a large number of local children with the opportunity to try a sport which they would otherwise have had no knowledge of or access to. Links between the local Canoe Clubs, the Trust and the community have been created and both the Trust and the volunteers have benefited from the opportunity to train up new instructors.