One of the UK’s largest banks, NatWest has just jumped on-board with Youth Charity, UKSA to support twelve children from across the Island

After seeing the huge success of UKSA’s ‘year six sailing initiative’ where over 1,123 Isle of Wight year six pupils took to the water, NatWest have chosen to support the charity with their initiative the ‘H20 Club’.

The year six programme gave the 10 and 11 year olds the opportunity to experience a free watersports taster session. It was the positive feedback that UKSA received after the sessions, which encouraged NatWest’s decision to give more back to the Island’s young people by supporting a fresh initiative to help those interested explore and develop their watersports interest further.

NatWest senior relationship manager Andy Wilson, who is based on the Isle of Wight, said: “NatWest is delighted to fund the H2O Club, an excellent project which gives youngsters who have had a taste of sailing the chance to develop their skills further.

It’s never too early to start thinking about future careers, and while the H2O Club activities are fun for the children taking part there is also an emphasis on teamwork and on building confidence and skills. The project also gives them an insight into the maritime life of the island, which could provide a career path for some of these youngsters.

We’re pleased to enable them to explore these things at an early age. We hope that the pupils taking part in these weekends will continue with their sailing and will work with UKSA to achieve formal RYA qualifications, which will be a worthy reward for their efforts and enthusiasm.”

As a result of high deprivation levels on the Island, childhood poverty levels are significantly higher than the national average and stand at 21.1% (ChiMat 2014). In addition levels of income deprivation are also higher than the national average across the Island.

Surrounded by water, the hope for this project is to inspire a cultural shift and recognition of one of the Islands main assets (the water) and its links to prospective career paths. By using these assets the programme can deliver fantastic life experiences to those taking part.

Through the funding delivered by NatWest, twelve children have been invited to UKSA’s base in Cowes for four days (over two weekends) to attend the ‘H2O Club’. As part of the course, the children learn the fundamentals of dinghy sailing with the goal of attaining the Royal Yachting Association’s Youth Stages one and two.

UKSA’s Head of Fundraising, Emma James commented; “It is fantastic to have Natwest’s support in delivering this project. It is crucial for young people to develop confidence and self-esteem through a sense of achievement. We know an active lifestyle is key to young people’s well-being and we hope to show watersports and sailing as healthy activities.”