HRH The Princess Royal is set to visit Cowes based Youth Charity, UKSA in July. As the charity’s Patron, HRH will help celebrate the success of their Year 6 Test the Water programme on Monday 4 July at their centre in Cowes.

UKSA’s Year 6 Test the Water programme has gone from strength to strength. In the last two years they have given 2,200 year six pupils (10 & 11 years old) on the Isle of Wight the free opportunity to get out on the water.

It was a key initiative for UKSA to be able to work with all of the Island’s Year six pupils through the monies raised as official charity to Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM) Cowes Week in 2014 and Red Funnel Ferries in 2015.

Ben Willows, UKSA CEO explained; “It is a real honour to have our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal join us to celebrate this programme. It’s fantastic to see our objective become a reality and provide those young people an opportunity to experience the sea. Despite being surrounded by water, many young Island people don’t actually get onto the water very often, if at all, and they don’t get to experience how much fun it can be and how much it can instil confidence and self-belief. We are looking to build on these successes and ask any Isle of Wight businesses or individuals to make contact if they are interested in supporting us.”

For the students, they are at an important part of their lives making the transition from primary to senior school. As part of UKSA’s sailing programme the students take to the water to learn the basics of sailing which in turn builds their confidence and self-belief; helping to make their school transition as smooth as possible.

Broadlea Primary School’s Year 6 teacher Alison Bonnick explained, “The pupils absolutely loved it. It was brilliantly organised, the instructors were energetic, good teachers and very patient. They were excellent at coaxing more reluctant pupils and some of the pupils are already talking about wanting to go back with their families (and asking if we can go to UKSA for our end of Year 6 trip!) many thanks to all involved!”

 Cowes Primary School was the first school to take part in the initiative in October 2014, The students were lucky enough to be hosted by, UKSA Ambassador, London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist and Rio 2016 athlete Helena Lucas.

Helena explained; “It is great to see pupils taking to the water for the first time for free through this great initiative by UKSA. As an ambassador for UKSA, I really support grassroots development and the opportunities UKSA provide to young people are second to none.”

UKSA are committed to deliver this fantastic programme once again to the Island’s year six students in line with the start of the school year in September. For the last two years, the programme has been funded through UKSA’s official charity status to both AAM Cowes Week and Red Funnel. Looking ahead to the 2016/2017 programme UKSA are looking for interested parties to support the new cohort of students. If interested please contact, Emma James, Head of Fundraising [email protected]