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19 September 2005, 04:23 pm
Helford River Children's Sailing Trust
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Connect To Sailing

Continuing the highlighting of initiatives around the world which focus on giving youth opportunities in sailing, this week the Helford River Children's Sailing Trust, in Cornwall, Great Britain, is profiled.
The Helford River Children's Sailing Trust was founded by John Green in 1997 and serves eleven local primary schools and the County School for children with special needs in a unique arrangement whereby the trust provides use of its fleet, equipment and senior staff free of charge providing the opportunity for every 8-11 year old in those schools to learn to row and sail single-handed, discover love and respect for the sea, gain confidence for life and accelerate academic learning.

The trust owns or has on loan from the RYA and other sources a range of equipment. The children start off in Optimists and as they gain experience and confidence they progress onto the Topper-Taz, Picos or Mirrors.

The staff of the Trust are a force of 75 dedicated volunteers, the lifeblood of the programme, most of whom return year after year.

The Trust relies upon financial contributions from third parties in order to fulfil its objectives and to meet annual running costs which include the maintenance of the fleet, volunteer training and the wages for an RYA Senior Instructor for five months of the year. Local and National Charities, government agencies and generous individuals are amongst the donors to whom the Trust are grateful.

The Trust has been providing this valuable service to the Children from local schools for eight years now and with ambitions to build a model that will serve all the primary schools in the Helford River catchment area, it will become an area in Great Britain where all children will have the opportunity to learn to sail. With a packed annual programme featuring two Inter School regattas and Holiday Sailing Courses as well as the Primary Schools service, the Trust keeps their volunteers very busy.

For the children with special needs 'Sailing and Rowing have given the children more of a sense of achievement than anything else we can provide.'

The benefits to the mental and physical development of children have long since been understood by those who participate in the sport at any level. They gain confidence in themselves and in their ability to help others, the experience affects their behaviour and attitudes in the most positive way and this is reflected back in the class room.

The Children's Fund Inspector stated 'what particularly struck me during my visit to the Children's Sailing Trust was how totally absorbed and self-motivated the children were in their approach to the complex task of sailing. Clearly something very skilful and special is going on here'.

The development of this project has been a huge success. To find out more information about the Helford River Children's Sailing Trust please visit their website at

ISAF is delighted to highlight specific projects which are unique to the area in which they take place and those where the ethos behind the project can be picked up by anyone anywhere in the world and used to the advantage of children everywhere.

'Sailing's great! Since learning to sail, I'll have a go at anything!', a 10 year old child exclaims.

ISAF invites your feedback on initiatives around the world, to share your experiences and success stories with Connect to Sailing, and enable knowledge share within the sailing world. Email:

Helford River Children's Sailing Trust (As Amended By ISAF) Image: © HRCST
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