London youngsters swap ‘big smoke’ for seaside as sailing scheme returns
Shaninga Marasha/BIGKID Foundation
A group of teenagers traded south London for the Suffolk coast as part of an annual scheme to help unlock the potential of youngsters from areas of high deprivation.
The award-winning BIGKID Foundation transported 10 young people from estates around Lambeth to learn sailing skills with Aldeburgh Yacht Club (AYC) volunteers over half term.
The charity’s third annual sailing programme was organised to help young people unlock their potential – giving teenagers from areas of high deprivation an opportunity to broaden their horizons and build their confidence.
Organisers believe the programme’s activities demand, teach and develop a number of essential life skills, including communication, teamwork, self-awareness, leadership and problem solving.
Sarah Davis, head of training at AYC, said: “It was fantastic to have BIGKID return to AYC.
“The young people really impressed us with their sailing skills, as well as their enthusiasm and willingness to give it a go.
“They were great company and our instructors enjoyed the week as much as the students.”
The project was only made possible by the generosity of AYC members and friends – many volunteering their time to help teach the young people how to sail, take them out in cruisers and even prepare their food.
BIGKID Foundation said it was incredibly grateful to everyone at the club for their support.
As well as sailing, the BIGKID group also took part in boating activities on Thorpeness Meare, horse riding, an art lesson and a story-telling workshop.
Chief executive Shaninga Marasha said: “The positive impact that sailing has had on our young people will be long-lasting, and the skills they have learnt are so easily translated into tangible achievements back home in Lambeth.”
Although most of those taking part capsized on the first day, the youngsters encouraged each other to get back in the boats and try again.
The BIGKID sailing programme culminated with a prize giving at the yacht club, where the young people were joined by the club’s members and friends for a drinks reception.
All were presented with awards to mark their achievements over the week by the club commodore, Patrick Hill.