Crowds numbering nearly 600 flocked to an open day at Trevassack Lake on the Lizard Peninsula on Sunday (19 May) to see the site of the HRCST’s new state-of-the-art inclusive watersports centre.
Visitors took to the water at the 26-acre disused quarry by a variety of means, in swimming sessions or on kayaks, paddleboards and sailing dinghies. Those with disabilities could try a new pontoon hoist that enabled them to sail in specially adapted Hansa craft.
Plans were also unveiled for the HRCST’s National Centre of Excellence for Watersports for All, opening in spring 2021 – an innovative centre that will be completely accessible, even for children with the most severe disabilities.
“We were overwhelmed by the support from local people on the day,” said HRCST CEO Simon Osborne. “We wanted visitors to experience the range of water-based activities we hope to offer, and to see for themselves our vision of how Trevassack Lake can become a valued community facility for people from across the county and beyond.
“The charity has been dedicated to helping children gain confidence, competence and resilience through activities on the Helford River for more than 20 years,” added Simon. “The river operation will continue, but this more sheltered site will provide a busy, year-round schedule of watersports for all. Easier shore access and a range of specialist craft and equipment will make it particularly suitable for those with special needs and disabilities.”
“We really enjoyed our afternoon at the lake – it was a brilliant showcase of the tremendous work the HRCST already does in our local area,” said Sarah Payne of Helston, whose teenage son Ross learned to sail with the Trust through his primary school. “We can’t wait to see the development of the new centre and hope to be involved in some way when it opens.”
Another parent added: “My son has Down’s syndrome, so having one-to-one tuition and extra help in the water is a fantastic idea. Cornwall has few facilities of this kind for children with special needs.”
The first phase of development will comprise a Learning Centre and two specially adapted, high-quality lodges to provide family accommodation for children with disabilities.
HRCST co-chair Charles Richardson said: “Building at the site is due to commence this winter, thanks to a recent funding boost of £1,900,000 awarded by the Coastal Communities Fund and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development,” added Charles. “But we are still only halfway to the target required to build the further 5 planned lodges, so we will be increasing our fund-raising efforts to ensure that our dream becomes a reality.”
Helford Hog Roasts provided catering on the day and donated all proceeds to the Trust, helping raise over £1000 for on-going activities.
You can view footage of the Lake Open Day here: Trevassack Lake Open Day featured on BBC Spotlight