2020: A YEAR OF RESILIENCE
They say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Well, that’s exactly what our supporters have enabled Roseland Youth Sailing Trust to do in this challenging year, providing a much-needed and much-appreciated way for children to bounce back from the pandemic. When lockdown closed schools in spring and social distancing continued into the summer, we were worried that we’d lose a whole year of sailing.
But working with schools and sailing instructors, we realised there was a way we could fund lessons safely: one-to-one tuition during the summer holidays. So in early July, we offered one-to-one tuition to the first 100 children to express their interest – and had 200 applicants in the first week.
The one-to-one programme was a huge success (we have a backlog of requests stretching into next year), not least because the ‘taster’ sessions we offered as part of it enabled us to introduce 166 new sailors to the water in 2020. Schools, parents and children were delighted. Matt Oakley, Headteacher of Foxhole Learning Academy near St Austell, said: “We think it’s a brilliant idea. We’re so grateful to the Trust for making it possible. Sailing helps lift us all.” You may have seen the media coverage about it in the Western Morning News, the West Briton and BBC Spotlight.
September saw the second highlight of the year: publication of research we’d carried out into the links between learning to sail and the development of resilience in children. This proved to be timely, as the second wave of the pandemic was already gathering momentum.
Sailing & Perceived Future Coping Ability in Primary School Children was carried out by Cornwall Children’s Research Service in association with Exeter University’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences. The study was led by consultant child psychologist Dr Ian Frampton, who said: “We know that learning to sail promotes wellbeing and self-esteem in children. But this is the first study to look specifically at perceived future coping ability. Believing you can cope with life’s shocks, setbacks and uncertainties is core to resilience – and especially relevant during the pandemic. And while more extensive research will help substantiate the results, this study shows what can be achieved in just six sailing lessons.” The positive findings of the study are proof, if proof were needed, of the benefits your support delivers to children in Cornwall.
Publication of the report coincided with our third highlight: the announcement of the Trust’s first ever ambassador, 25-year-old skiff sailor Jack Hawkins, who will be known to many of you. Jack is a member of the British Sailing Team and a Cornwall native, born in Truro and sailing since the age of 10. As Jack said on BBC Radio Cornwall: “I know from my own experience there’s nothing like sailing to build confidence and resilience – not just in racing, but in all aspects of life.”
Jack went on to say he’s keen to help promote the work of the Trust: “Many families in Cornwall would love their children to learn to sail, but struggle to pay for lessons and kit. RYST is making it possible for a whole new generation of sailing talent to take to the water.” We’re looking forward to building the relationship with him, inspiring young sailors to follow his example. If you’d like to follow his progress, you’ll find a link to his personal instagram page and to the facebook page he shares with his team-mate Chris Thomas – plus a whole lot of other interesting stuff on our new website, www.ryst.org.uk
You can also read about all three of this year’s highlights in a Yachts & Yachting article at the link below:
As always, thank you for your support. Despite the year’s difficulties and uncertainties, RYST has made a big difference.
Looking ahead to 2021, the Tall Ships are due to return to Falmouth in August, as you’re no doubt aware. We’re very excited about this as it could present a life-transforming opportunity for some of our older children to take part in the race to Spain.
Specific and separate funding will be required to pay for places onboard and we’re already seeking a corporate sponsor among Cornish businesses wishing to demonstrate their commitment to the community. If you know of one that may be interested, we’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!