The Liverpool Watersports Centre has been awarded funding by the 1851 Trust to give free sailing lessons to children in Merseyside. 500 places are available for students aged 11 to 14 years old, at schools located within 15 miles of the Centre, based at Queens Dock.
The 1851 Trust is an education and sailing charity that is currently working alongside the British America's Cup challenger, INEOS TEAM UK, to use the inspiration of the prestigious sailing race to promote STEM learning and encourage more young people to take up sailing.
The Liverpool Watersports Centre, that is run by Local Solutions, is one of the 12 Flagship Centres in the UK chosen to help deliver the sailing programme due to their ability to deliver an amazing experience for students. The programme is aimed at schools with high percentages of Pupil Premium students, so that children who wouldn't normally get the chance to sail have the opportunity to.
Jon Hannaway, manager at Liverpool Watersports Centre said;
"It's about getting disadvantaged kids into sailing. It'll give them an opportunity and who knows we might find the next Ben Ainslie. Sailing can be seen as an elitist sport, when you hear about these kids who are disadvantaged they might not have the capacity to access it. It's opening doors and giving them the opportunity to try something new. The big thing is that it raises awareness of the sport and the America's Cup competition."
The America's Cup, dubbed 'the Formula 1 of sailing', is the oldest international sporting trophy in the world, beginning in Britain in 1851. The next race will take place in Auckland in 2021 and INEOS TEAM UK are hoping to win the trophy for Britain for the first time in history.
The free sailing lessons at the Liverpool Watersports Centre will begin after Easter and continue for up to three years throughout the summer and autumn school terms. There will be both morning and afternoon sessions which will last three hours each, with two hours of that on the water.
If you are a school that would like to be involved, please contact the Liverpool Watersports Centre on 0151 7089322.