London Youth Rowing (LYR) is a rowing charity established in 2004, to give young people access to a traditionally niche sport and in turn help the rowing community become more diverse and inclusive. With multiple sites across London, the charity’s primary location is at the Royal Docks Adventure in Newham, one of London’s most deprived boroughs, where they cater for groups from across London and the UK.
At their main centre they operate the flagship London Borough of Newham (‘LBN’) programme in conjunction with Newham Council, who subsidise sessions for groups and participants in the borough. Since 2017, they have delivered sessions with throughput of over 8,000 through the LBN programme alone. In the last quarter of 2018, 81% of participants were from BAME backgrounds, they also attract high numbers of female participants and local people of all ages with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities. Through their work in Newham, they continually aim to broaden participation in the sport, challenge stereotypes and facilitate access for those who might not otherwise have exposure to these activities.
Across London, LYR aim to establish sport as a regular habit for young people creating a positive, social and thriving environment through the Active Row Programme, with inspiring Coaches as excellent role models. The Active Row programme is working with over 70 State Schools in 12 priority London Boroughs based on the London Poverty profile. Launched in September 2017, 67% of the 2,780 young people engaged in Year 1 through Active Row were from BAME backgrounds. London Youth Rowing also offers specific Life Skills programmes and development opportunities. The Breaking Barriers programme combines rowing with life skills workshops, placements and mentoring in top corporate organisations across the city.
Terry Blancke, one of their Session Coaches, commented in particular on the diversity of participants: "I have been active in the sport of rowing in the east end of London for over 40 years and at the Royal Docks for almost 20 years. The impact of London Youth Rowing has been profound, the level of participation in the sport from the local community is tremendous. The demographic at the sessions that I am involved in truly reflects the diverse local community and it is particularly pleasing to see the levels of female involvement. We have a waiting list of young people to join which is a great testament to the efforts of LYR to engage with the local community.”
Matt Rostron, CEO at London Youth Rowing, said: “I am delighted that LYR’s work with the community in Newham has been recognised in this way. London Youth Rowing was founded with the vision of opening access to the sport of rowing to young people from all backgrounds and abilities, and we’re very thankful to the London Borough of Newham for their ongoing support in achieving this.
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