Thank you to students on the Foundation Learning course at Cornwall College Camborne who held a number of fundraising events at the College over the summer term and raised £350 to donate to HRCST!
How volunteer Hattie Walker has been spending her time on the Helford River
The HRCST may be known and loved by many for teaching children from local schools to sail, but fewer people are aware of the Trust’s work with students with special educational needs and disabilities.
“It is one of the most rewarding mornings of my week,” says volunteer Hattie Walker, of the session she spends on the water with students from Cornwall College Camborne Foundation Learning. “It is so much fun to spend time with such enthusiastic and lively young adults who love their weekly trip out on the Helford River.”
The sessions offer these learners an opportunity to develop their self-confidence and teamwork skills, while gaining an understanding of water safety – all in the invigorating outdoor setting of the Helford. For Hattie, volunteering with these groups has been an education in itself.
“Every young adult, regardless of their very mixed abilities, clearly gets such a lot from the morning,” she says. “The smiles are big and the excitement of getting ready and onto the water is so easy to see. I have particularly enjoyed helping some of the learners develop their kayaking skills over the weeks and watching their improvement, although some like to capsize on purpose! Others are quiet and simply enjoy their powerboat trips and walking on the beautiful beaches, looking for interesting shells or sea glass, or a sing-song on our boat trip.
“I was lucky to be trained by the Trust earlier this year and gained my RYA Powerboat Level 2 certificate, which means that I can drive a powerboat and ferry some of the students and their teachers to the various beaches,” adds Hattie. “I’ve grown in confidence on the water too – we’ve learned together.”
HRCST chief instructor Mike Comyn adds: “We’ve had an incredible term and a lot of fun with the Cornwall College students and staff, all of whom have made considerable progress. Many of the learners had never been on a boat before they started with us. They have approached these new challenges with enthusiasm and courage – to the point where some of them are even kayaking and rowing single-handedly.”
“It has been an amazing few weeks,” agrees Alicia Martin, a Cornwall College staff member who has accompanied the learners. “The students and staff have had such a great time and the experience will stay with us always.
“To watch our students develop not only their ability on the water but also their own personal communication and interaction skills has been truly inspirational,” Alicia adds. “Their confidence has grown week by week, thanks to the support and encouragement given by Mike and his team at the HRCST.”
Volunteering with HRCST
Volunteers provide essential support to the Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust and are trained to provide general support for the Sailing Instructors on and off the water, including safety boat operation (with training and qualification) and sailing instruction and assistance. Find out more about volunteering opportunities with the Trust by contacting 07555 785102 or firstname.lastname@example.org