12 young people progressed faster than any other group in recent memory to become competent helms as part of the new Young Helms Project at Cobnor Activities Centre Trust. The purpose of the programme is to enable young people with no previous experience to access sailing as a sport and possibly begin the career path to becoming an outdoor education instructor.
The young people were nominated by their schools as the pupils most likely to benefit from taking part in the project. They come from Chichester High School for Girls, The Regis School, Angmering School and Littlegreen School. They were required to commit to five half days during the school term and a week during the school holidays in order to attain individual RYA (Royal Yachting Association) qualifications in Stage 2 Youth Sailing Scheme, RYA Powerboat Level 2 and RYA First Aid.
Gary Palmer, Head of Centre at Cobnor, introduced Alan Stannah, who funded the programme. Mr Stannah addressed the young people directly, explaining that he has enjoyed a lifetime of enjoyable sailing in Chichester Harbour. His parents had initially taken him sailing to East Head on fine days. As he got older, he used to hitch-hike down from London to Emsworth Sailing Club, sailing the club dinghies and staying in a bunk room for 2/6d a night. “Sailing for me is a wonderful sport: It can be very challenging, as well as giving you exercise and fun. It will help you to cope in many aspects of your life, teaching you to work together with other people.” He congratulated the 12 young people and wished them all the best for the future. He particularly thanked the Beale family, who has made this wonderful place accessible.
Gary Palmer commented, “This is the first time we have been able to run the Young Helms Project at Cobnor Activities Centre and thank Alan Stannah for making this possible for this year. We hope that these 12 young people will be working with us this summer and that many more will have the opportunity to follow their path in the future, and that the Young Helms Project becomes a regular part of our annual programme at Cobnor.”