WITH a new dinghy sponsored by their local councillor, Portchester Sailing Club can look forward to giving schoolchildren a taste of life on the water.
Cllr Roger Price said he was delighted to donate £1,500 towards a new RS Tera training dinghy which will help train youngsters from Portchester Community and Cams Hill schools.
The new boat was officially presented to the club last month in the presence of some of those schoolchildren wearing vests with the logo of the Royal Yacht Association OnBoard scheme, which aims to encourage sailing in schools.
Cllr Price said: ‘When I was approached by the sailing club for the money to help buy the dinghy to engage youngsters who are not necessarily interested in mainstream sports, I thought it was a cause worth investing in.
‘Now the club will be able to take these youngsters out on six to eight-week-long expeditions and teach them how to sail. For some, sailing may become a hobby, for others, maybe even a profession. We never know – there could even be a fresh Olympian among them.
‘I look forward to getting regular updates about how the youngsters get on from their headteachers.
‘Encouraging sport in schools is incredibly important. Children in particular want to spend time looking at computers, but they need to get out and exercise. Whether it’s football or sailing, they’re getting fresh air into their lungs.’
Portchester Sailing Club is now one of more than 200 clubs and centres throughout the UK involved in the RYA’s OnBoard initiative, which hopes to engage half a million new young people in sailing.