Buoyed Up launched at Canberra Yacht Club

Phil Jones, Malcom Page, Bob Fisher, Ian Ruff and Lynne Harwood at the Buoyed Up launch in Canberra
Communities@Work has announced a major new partnership in Australia to support disadvantaged children and young people through sailing.

Bob Fisher, experienced and respected sailing journalist, has launched Buoyed Up at the Canberra Yacht Club.

Buoyed Up, developed with the support of the Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation and based on Yachting Australia’s grassroots Tackers initiative, is a special introductory sailing program designed to provide vulnerable young people aged 7-12 years with a fun, confidence building sailing experience. The Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation Trustees were convinced of the programs objectives when they saw the Trackers' equation: 'Kids + Boats = Fun.'

In particular, the program will seek to help disadvantaged youth build their self esteem, develop their motor skills, enhance their resilience, learn about their environment and value team work.

Developed by the Canberra Yacht Club and endorsed by Yachting Australia, the pilot program in Canberra will be managed by Communities@Work, a leading not-for-profit community service organisation in the ACT.

The partnership between the Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation, the Canberra Yacht Club, Communities@Work and Yachting Australia is a special initiative. After an evaluation of this pilot project, the partners intend to expand and develop the Buoyed Up Program in other Australian yacht clubs in 2012.

Olympic yachting medalist and Australian Trustee of the Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation, Ian Ruff, said: 'Sir Thomas Lipton was one of the great ambassadors of sailing. He cared about sailing being accessible to all. The Canberra Yacht Club, Communities@Work and Yachting Australia are committed - as we are in the Foundation - to making this work, and I am very optimistic that we can rapidly expand the Buoyed Up program.'

Matt Owen, the Chief Executive of Canberra Yacht Club and recent winner of the Sport Professional of the Year at the Australian Yachting Awards, is passionate about this partnership and it’s potential.

'Sailing is so much a part of Australian culture and identity,' he said. 'This is all about how children and young people can learn skills, build self-esteem and have fun through sport. We are committed to making it work in Canberra and applying the model and benefits in other parts of the country.'

Lynne Harwood, Chief Executive of Communities@Work, is very buoyant about the benefits of the program for at-risk young people: 'I am delighted that we can give this opportunity to young people who may not otherwise have a chance to share in the benefits of sailing.'

The Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation is a registered charity in Scotland. Its aim is to raise and distribute funds internationally for organisations dedicated to helping the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in society through sailing. The Trustees are Shirley Robertson OBE, Laurence Brady, Bob Fisher, Dr Tony Flinn, Jamie Matheson and Ian Ruff.

The Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation is inspired by the Glasgow-born tea entrepreneur and five time America’s Cup challenger, Sir Thomas Lipton (1848-1931). His name evokes the adventurous and generous spirit of sailing like no-one else, before or since, thanks to his sportsmanship and perseverance in his challenges for the America’s Cup and his sponsorship of sailing all over the world. This first grant is awarded at the end of the 80th anniversary year of Sir Thomas’s death.

Yachting Australia website