An important aspect of the work we do at Polkerris is regular weekly sailing sessions with primary and secondary schools from around Cornwall, inspiring the younger generation to sail. Since 2018, we have been working in collaboration with the Roseland Youth Sailing Trust (RYST) who strive to create opportunities, change lives and transform Cornish communities through funded sailing opportunities sessions with schools.
There’s growing evidence of the positive impact that outdoor learning can have on children’s long-term health and well-being. Parents of young people who have sailed through our funded programme have reported that they have noticed a growth in confidence, self-belief, and resilience in their children since taking part in the programme, as well as general enjoyment of being outdoors and in the water.
Giving young people the opportunity to experience being in the water and learning to sail in a safe, encouraging environment is proven to improve children’s self-confidence, understanding of themselves, and the extent to which they believe they have influence over their lives - all valuable skills to learn at a young age. Research suggests that skills gained through learning to sail will also help children cope with future stress and uncertainties better than before they learned to sail. Notably, children who struggle the most with school work have benefited the most from learning to sail. This shows that teaching children to sail isn’t just about having fun but equipping them with lifelong, valuable skills that really make a difference.
Here at Polkerris, we have the perfect setting to enable this. We believe that offering the right structure and environment for young people to learn, optimises the benefits of learning to sail. Working with RYST allows us to facilitate sailing sessions for young people from across Cornwall who may not otherwise get the opportunity to do so.
Our busy school programme is a big feature in our calendar year, with sessions running during the summer terms and the first half of the autumn term. We work with the schools to enable them to bring weekly groups of children, who usually attend for a full six-week course, coming to sail with us weekly.
In 2021, the RYST supported 7 primary and secondary schools, totalling 300 children, to sail with us over the course of the year, a brilliant achievement and opportunity for so many children around Cornwall. Many of these children have gone on to complete further sailing courses with us or join our weekly sailing club.
In 2021 RYST introduced the Tall Ship Programme. The programme is aimed at 16 - 18-year-olds living, working or studying in Cornwall and gives them the opportunity to take part in a youth voyage on a tall ship, Maybe.
Last year, 11 young people enjoyed a voyage to the Isles of Scilly. In August this year, 14 young people will have the opportunity to experience a 10-day voyage on Maybe.
This opportunity gives young people a chance to experience something that they will never have done before on the voyage, and includes a team-building day at Polkerris for the group to get to know one another before the trip over the summer holidays.
The impact of Covid-19 in 2020 meant that we were unable to run our usual school sessions due to lockdowns and social distancing rules. This led to us run individual 1:1 RYA sailing lessons, funded by RYST, allowing us to continue to get children out on the water and learning to sail. With 100 places available, this was a valuable programme to be able to run during a difficult period for children, due to the impact of Covid-19 on children’s mental health and wellbeing.
This programme continued into 2021, when we were able to get 40 children out sailing over the summer thanks to funding from RYST. In total 20 children were introduced to sailing for the first time by completing their RYA Stage 1 course, and 20 continued on from the previous summer to complete further stages in the RYA stage 2 & 3 syllabus. Again many of these students went on to join our weekend sailing clubs with help from RYST funding and were regular attendees, developing their sailing skills over the course of the summer.
If you’re interested in finding out more about funding or getting involved with our programme, then do contact us at the beach on 01726 813306 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With plenty planned for the year ahead, we’re looking forward to seeing what’s next for our collaboration with RYST and our young sailors.