Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust has been awarded £1,696,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund Round 5 to transform 26 acres of disused quarry at Trevassack on The Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall into a National Centre of Excellence for Watersports for ALL to open in Spring 2021.
The funding enables the Trust to build a Learning Centre and two adapted, high quality holiday lodges providing family accommodation suitable for children with severe disabilities. Watersports activities will be available at Trevassack Lake year-round and the centre is projected to attract over 1500 new users and generate 7.5 FTE much-needed jobs for the rural, coastal community on The Lizard Peninsula in its first year of operation.
Jonathan Thornton, Trustee is overseeing the Lake development: “This project is a long-held ambition of Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust and has been over 3 years in the planning. I’m delighted that we will now be able to begin work onsite and create what will be a truly exceptional facility for ALL children, particularly those with special needs and disabilities.”
The new amenity will boost Cornwall’s accessible tourism provision by providing accommodation with fun watersports activities within easy reach. Families locally and from across the UK will benefit: “I’m absolutely thrilled that there would be somewhere we could go on holiday. Even though it is only 30-40 minutes away from home for us, it would be amazing”, Rachel George, Changing Places campaigner and mum of Adam, who is severely disabled.
Young people of all abilities, including those with multiple and profound disabilities, will be able to enjoy a full range of watersports on site, from sailing dinghies, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and windsurfing on adapted and non-adapted craft, accessing the water from specialist pontoons and hoists.
Simon Osborne, CEO of Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust said: “Parents and teachers tell us that taking part in sailing and watersports is a transformative experience for young people. They gain new skills and build friendships, which boosts the confidence of many children that struggle in a classroom setting”.
The Trust will also commission a unique floating classroom which will take young people with disabilities, including wheelchair users, onto the water to view marine life through underwater cameras and onboard screens.
Trevassack Lake will provide young people in the local community with recreational opportunities and a training resource. Each year, there will be 2 apprenticeships and a substantial number of volunteering positions available with training given. Members of the community such as Chris Dawson, Town Clerk of Helston Town Council are full of praise for the project: “You will be creating a unique facility for our area affording opportunities to young people that would not normally benefit from the life skills that the Centre will provide.”
The large grant awarded by the Coastal Communities Fund is matched by generous funding from The Garfield Weston Foundation, Mark Benevolent Fund, Peter Harrison Foundation and individual donors for the total project cost of £2,393,000.
The Trust will continue to fundraise for the remaining 5 lodges it has planned for the site.