A personal statement from our CEO, Ben Willows

Published 19/03/2020

UKSA has been closely monitoring the developments surrounding the current Coronavirus pandemic which is affecting all of our families, our businesses, our communities, and our way of life. As a direct result of the various measures the UK Government are putting in place, more specifically the forced closure of schools, UKSA has taken the decision to suspend operations from Sunday 22 March until the end of April (although the exact duration will be determined by the situation as it progresses).

These are unprecedented times. Our responsibility is clear and our priority is as always, to safeguard our employees and the thousands of young people who study, train and simply have fun with us. We are continuing to work with our staff, our customers and partners, many of whom are also facing complex issues.

With regards to the students and beneficiaries currently on site at UKSA, we would like to reassure everyone that at all times we put safety first and are taking all necessary steps to minimise any potential threat from Covid-19 and are careful to follow NHS and Public Health England guidance. All students will have left the Cowes site by the 23rd March and we are supporting them in this process.

This is a very unsettling time for everyone. We have plans in place to manage through this difficult situation and we look forward to getting our students and beneficiaries back on the water as soon as the current cloud lifts.

Once we reopen, our goals will remain unchanged and, as the world moves forward, the work we do with young people will become increasingly vital. Our outdoor learning programmes will be the antithesis of the isolation young people will have faced. They will help to rebuild self-belief and confidence in the world around them. Through these difficult times, young peoples’ mental health will be challenged more than it has ever been before, outdoor learning can provide the opportunities to help them understanding their emotions, be calm and reflect as well as provide a platform to increase fitness and release energy.

We know we will make our way through this current challenge by all working together and supporting our local community in which we play such an active role.

If you have an existing booking with us, we will of course work with you to ensure we can accommodate your booking once this situation passes.

UKSA will remain contactable through out this period; we will be manning the phones and emails so if you have any questions, would like to speak to us, or think you may be able to assist us, please do not hesitate to get in contact with any of the team.

We are all in uncharted waters but by working together we will navigate our way through this.

I would like to thank all our schools, partners, students and staff for their patience and understanding as the situation continues to unfold.

Ben Willows, Chief Executive Officer