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Andrew Simpson Community Programmes explained

by Sarah Heron 13 Feb 04:00 PST
Performance Academy © Andrew Simpson Foundation

2021 was a hugely busy year for Andrew Simpson Foundation (ASF). Over 30,000 people participated in their wide range of Watersports and activities, many of whom wouldn't have had this opportunity without the Andrew Simpson Foundation.

Here's how they plan to get even more people out on the water this year through a carefully thought out charitable programme of opportunities:

Discover Sailing

This is all about inspiring participation. Through Discover Sailing, ASF will bring taster sessions to young people in local communities. They are including key messaging in partnership with the RNLI to make young people safer around water, and each young person is given opportunities to continue sailing through the other charitable programmes on offer through ASF.

Sailing Club

Ensuring regular access for all. Young people need more than kits and competition - they want to feel good about themselves. In the recent ASF 2021 end of season survey, 77% said they had more determination.

ASF believe that regular participation in sailing enables young people to gain skills they never thought possible. It also helps them grow as individuals, builds their self-confidence and increases their physical and mental wellbeing.

Sailing Club Participant Freya took her first sailing course mid-pandemic in the summer 2020 and it's now a regular part of her life.

As she says: "I was so happy to find an activity that I really enjoyed and looked forward to the promise of more sailing opportunities. Since then, sailing has become a great way for me to get active, learn new skills and make lots of new friends from around the area. Sailing Club has become a valued part of my weekly routine. I feel that it has helped me, not only discover a new activity, but grow in self-confidence and interact with lots of other people. I enjoy being adventurous and solving problems but most of all, I love the feeling of being part of a team. Everyone here at the Sailing Club is so kind and encouraging. A big thank you to you all!" Freya Murray age 13

Young Leaders

For those already on their sailing journey, Young Leaders focuses on those aged 14-16 and provides them with the opportunity to attend a leadership-training programme where they learn key skills and are prepared for the Dinghy Instructor Qualification.

ASF are working in partnership with Portsmouth Sail Training Trust (PSTT) and both are passionate about enabling young people in Portsmouth to reach their full potential. PSTT said: "We use sailing to increase young people's career prospects and develop key life skills. Our aim is to raise young people's aspirations."

Aiming High

Being on and around the water has an incredibly positive effect on physical and mental well-being. Aiming High is a sailing and watersports programme which supports young people living with a learning and/or physical disability. The programme also focuses on young people's mental health, using sailing and watersports to boost young people's sense of self-worth and help them manage their emotions.

Aiming High Participant Oli is autistic and started his sailing journey by taking part in the Aiming High Open Day, funded by Children in Need. Oli suffered with a lack of self-worth and confidence and felt like he couldn't achieve anything. Now, Oli believes in himself and has confidence in his sailing ability.

When he is on the water, Oli knows he is in control. Sailing gives Oli a sense of freedom which he doesn't experience in other areas of his life. Oli He has been a regular at the Centre ever since, participating in weekly subsidised sessions.

Sail Fit

Inactivity became much worse over lockdown. Sail Fit focuses on tackling inactivity in young people, teaching them new skills and inspiring them to eat a healthily and balanced diet.

Race Club - Training the stars of the future

We know that for some, sailing can be a career, a passion, a driving force in life. Race Club is dedicated to giving those that show promise or passion the support they need to achieve their potential. What's more, 66% said they made new friends and 83% said they had more self confidence, in last year's end of season survey.

Participant stories

So many young lives have been transformed by the Andrew Simpson Foundation programmes.

Bruno Green, 13, said: "I love being on the water. After being in lockdown for so long, the feeling of being free again to roam around the Harbour, made me appreciate where I live and my boat even more."

Race Club Participant Hugh, 14, said: "I come sailing because it is fun. I really like the Andrew Simpson Centre because all the instructors know me and I know them, that helps me feel confident and they make me do more than I think I can. I really enjoyed the Assistant Dinghy Instructor qualification. I feel it is a big achievement and I am going to do the Dinghy Instructor course when I am old enough. I enjoy coming to Andrew Simpson Centre to volunteer and I like it when I help people do something they are not sure about. I really look forward to coming as it is completely different from going to school and it is outside in the fresh air and by the sea."

Alex is a local sailor from the Andrew Simpson Centre Portsmouth. Alex found the 2020 lockdown hard and struggled with his schoolwork and increased levels of anxiety.

For Alex, sailing gave him the opportunity to get away from the day to day demands of life, whilst helping him to develop important life skills such as communication and self-confidence.

Building the sailing community

Ellie Gennings is a PhD Candidate and Visiting Lecturer from the University of Winchester. Amongst other key findings, Ellie's research found that the community at our Portsmouth Centre was key to Alex's development. Sailing regularly at the Centre has enabled Alex to meet like-minded people and feel part of an inclusive community, one where Alex can be himself. Alex would not have been able to pursue his passion for sailing without the support of the Andrew Simpson Foundation.

All these programmes are made possible through the work of the not-for-profit Andrew Simpson Centres, generous charitable donations and sponsors. To find out more about the ASF and help even more young people get out on the water, head to the ASF website. 'Together, we transform lives through sailing'.

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