Gym staff take to water to support counselling charity

TEAM Off the Record employees, with friends and the charity's patron Katy Sexton, far right, at the Lakeside dragon boat race in 2013
TEAM Off the Record employees, with friends and the charity's patron Katy Sexton, far right, at the Lakeside dragon boat race in 2013
Former Great British Bake Off contestant Enwezor Nzegwu pictured at last year's cooking show.

Picture: Sarah Standing (161630-8733) PPP-160912-203331001

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Staff at a Portsmouth gym will be putting their fitness to the test to help troubled youngsters.

XStream Fitness, which runs outdoor circuits classes at Castle Field, Southsea, has entered a crew in the forthcoming Dragon Boat Race.

Money raised will be given to Off The Record, a charity based in Leigh Park and Fratton which provides free information, support and counselling for 11 to 25-year-olds.

Off The Record has overcome its own challenges in the past 18 months as cuts to its grants from local authorities nearly led to closure.

Tina Randall, senior administration manager, said: ‘We’re very grateful for XStream’s support.

‘Money raised at this event is vital if we are to continue helping young people with emotional problems at a time when the pressure on them as they grow up has never been harder.’

A flurry of donations has allowed the charity to keep both its offices open. A total of £16,500 was donated by trusts.

This is in addition to a £10,000 funding boost by the Rotary Club of Havant and a £6,000 donation from Kenwood in Havant following a charity sale.

Tina said: ‘The response of the local community in raising money to help Off The Record keep going has been fantastic.

‘It’s ensured we can continue to provide the help that young people can’t get anywhere else.

‘We’ve had over 2,000 contacts since Christmas.

‘We’ve also recruited another 18 volunteers to add to our rota of some 90, so we are currently in good shape.

‘But we always need more support.’

The Dragon Boat Race, organised by Portsmouth and Southsea Rotary, takes place on the weekend of May 16 and 17 at Lakeside, North Harbour, Portsmouth.