Inspired Life CIC (www.inspiredlife.org) and Canoe Trail (www.canoetrail.co.uk) has been delivering an adventurous activities programme to over 50 young people across Luton and Bedfordshire as a result of a small grant from Sport England. The grant is part of their Olympic legacy programme for young people aged 14 to 25 giving them structured training sessions to encourage physical activity and sport.
The adventurous activities including hiking, canoeing, kayaking and bushcraft activities are designed to help improve health, build lifeskills and provide a taste of adventure and the great outdoors. Young people taking part have also enjoyed a weekend adventure of canoeing and camping at Canoe Trail’s woodland campsite.
The training has been delivered working closely with Viking Kayak club and students have attended their pool sessions to learn capsize drills, rescues and other skills in the warm. The programme is aiming to equip the participants with the skills to pass a 2 star award from British Canoeing. Viking Kayak Club is the home of Olympic Champion Etienne Stott and it is hoped that some of these young paddlers will set their dreams on continuing in the sport to a competitive level.
The sessions are free to the young people and as well as developing paddling skills they have also helped improve confidence and provide a boost for future job applications. Participants have been drawn from a wide range of locations including the Tokko Centre as a follow on from the Princes Trust Fairbridge Programme. Young people from Luton on the programme have taken part in raft building, bushcraft, canoeing, zorbing and kayaking.
Other groups have included girls as part of the Girls Strong Programme organised by Larissa Clarke of Transition Coaching. This group links to the successful Sport England campaign #thisgirlcan which has seen huge numbers of girls and women taking up sports and physical activity. Bedford Free School Students have also taken to the water as part of the programme with over 30 students learning to paddle. The programme provides a perfect stepping for participants to go on to their own adventures, outdoor sports or schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh.
Anyone interested in joining future programmes can register their interest by visiting Team Beds and Luton, the County Sports Partnership @ www.teambedsandluton.co.uk
Ashley Kenlock – Director of Canoe Trail, “it has been fantastic to watch the young people develop new skills and confidence as a result of the adventure programme. These skills will serve them well for future job opportunities and also enjoying life in the outdoors away from computer screens.”
Richard Harpham – Fellow Director and Professional Adventurer Commented, “The best adventure is the one that you take! These young people have shown huge determination canoeing and kayaking throughout the winter months and they are now capable of undertaking their own adventures in the future”
Larissa Clarke – Owner Transition Coaching, “The aim of the GirlStrong Programme is to support young girls to develop their self-confidence and realise their potential against many of the challenges they face. This is achieved through workshops and a range of activity sessions which offer the girls the chance to test themselves and learn what they are capable of in a safe supportive and fun environment.”
The opportunity to combine this with Canoe Trails Adventure project was a perfect collaboration giving the girls access to a fantastic range of outdoors activities but also offering Richard and Ash’s wealth of experience in both adventure sports and inspiring young people.
“My granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed it & is so proud of her photo! She admitted earlier this year that she hadn’t any confidence, probably due to her growing so quickly during the past year & then comparing herself to her friends. Oh Wednesday however she was bursting with confidence.”
Canoe Trail is an award winning family run watersports and adventurous activities business. It provides canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and other adventure activities across Bedfordshire. Canoe Trail runs a woodland campsite allowing people to experience adventures with canoeing or kayaking and camping. Canoe Trail has featured in the Daily Telegraph, Outdoor Adventure Guide, Active Traveler and Paddler Magazine. www.canoetrail.co.uk
Inspired Life CIC
Inspired Life is an award winning social enterprise providing experiential learning programmes with inspirational role models, team challenges and resources to help build lifeskills and raise aspiration. Inspired Life has engaged over 29,000 young people and was a London 2012 Inspire Mark Programme as well as finalist for the Independent Business Excellence Awards and RBS SE 100 Awards as a ‘Trailblazing Newcomer’. www.inspiredlife.org
Team Beds and Luton
Team Beds and Luton is the County Sports Partnership which is responsible for clubs, coaches and volunteers within Bedfordshire. They run Sport England projects locally such as Sportivate (sport for 14-25 year olds), The School Games (Part of the London 2012 legacy), Workplace Challenge (a corporate sport challenge) and No Limits (a disability project providing sporting activities).
Viking Kayak Club
Viking Kayak Club is Bedford’s canoe and kayak club and home to Olympic Champion Etienne Stott. The club provides a pathway for canoeing and kayaking from recreation through to high level competition in many different disciplines.