The youth charity Sea Cadets will be giving thousands of young people from hard-to-reach areas the chance to take part in water-based adventures over the summer.
Running until the end of August, Sea Cadets’ On The Water programme will see more than 1,200 children across three locations – London, Birmingham and Merseyside – try out sailing, kayaking, canoeing and much more.
“The aim of our On The Water project is a simple yet important one,” says On The Water Coordinator, Ryan Bentley. “We want to give young people who wouldn’t normally have access to water-based activities a chance to try something new, have fun, build their confidence and make new friends.”
“We have also built relationships with local authorities and groups which support young people with disabilities and additional needs, young people in care, disadvantaged pupils in schools, children from low income households and many other groups helping young people who really need this project to boost their mental well-being and self-confidence.”
Groups taking part in On The Water 2022 include UK Islamic Mission (UKIM), which runs numerous education, relief and welfare projects for over 5,000 children and the Young Carers Project run by Tower Hamlets Youth Service, which provides opportunities for young carers to take a break from their daily responsibilities, interact with others and enjoy a fun day out.
Qualified instructors deliver all sessions on a wide range of water sports and participation is free of charge. The young participants can also earn qualifications by taking part, such as the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Stage 1 qualification, canoeing and paddling awards.
The young people who took part in On The Water last year gave the programme a big thumbs up. “It was brilliant – I’d never been on a boat or open water before,” said one young person. “The whole experience was amazing. I particularly loved sailing!” said another, while a third added: “It taught me how to be more confident in the water.”
Parents have been equally enthusiastic about the programme. One mother wrote to Sea Cadets to say: “My son has never done anything like this before and he enjoyed it so much.” Another parent said: “My child’s confidence has noticeably improved…it has brought out a side of him we haven’t seen before and it is a joy to see.”