Redgrave Backs Rowing For All Scheme

Image of the Explore Rowing launch

The UK’s most successful Olympic sport – rowing – has now become
accessible
to everyone under a new scheme backed by our greatest Olympian, Sir
Steve
Redgrave CBE.  Launching Explore Rowing at Henley on Monday, Sir Steve
said,
“Explore Rowing is a really innovative programme – it challenges
preconceptions and most importantly reminds us what a wonderful, fun,
healthy and accessible sport rowing really is.”

Di Ellis CBE, Chairman of British Rowing was equally delighted, “The new
boats are stable, easy to row, and give everyone the feeling of freedom
and
achievement that I’ve enjoyed throughout my life in rowing.”

The initiative is an adaptation of the successful Project Oarsome
programme,
launched in 2000, which provided a significant increase in junior
participation. Rosemary Napp, National Manager of British Rowing, said,
“Project Oarsome had a massive impact, extending the reach of the sport
into
40% of state schools throughout the country. We hope that Explore Rowing
can
do the same for those over-16 opening up the sport to a
wider
range of participants.”

The Explore Rowing programme is supported by substantial investment from
Sport England.  Jennie Price, Chief Executive of Sport England, said:
“It’s
great to see rowing rising to the challenge of getting more adults out
on
the water, from older people who feared their rowing days were behind
them
to those who’ve never before considered getting into a boat. With the
Olympic and Paralympic Games round the corner, there’s never been a
better
time to take this sport to a wider audience.”

The programme will facilitate rowing activity outside of traditional
rowing
competition and will provide a structured entry route into the sport
through
a new national learn to row scheme. The Explore Assistant training will
help
people volunteer at an earlier stage of their rowing ‘career’ and has
been
awarded the Inspire mark by London 2012. Fifty stable boat packages will
help kick-start Explore Rowing around the country providing boats that
are
not only better suited to beginners but also ideal for many rowing
activities such as touring or personal challenges.

Rich Stock, Explore Rowing Programme Manager, described the reaction
from
clubs as extremely positive. “We have had huge numbers of expressions of
interest from all around the country. Clubs, who have already received
boats, have reported a great reception from both newcomers and existing
members. We’re delighted that clubs have bought into the ethos of the
programme so readily.”

The whole programme is supported by a new website, www.explorerowing.org,
where participants can share routes, personal challenges and connect
with
other rowers throughout the country.

Real Life Stories

We have already implemented the programme in the first six clubs and a
positive impact has already been seen in these clubs. Here are some
examples
of how Explore Rowing has been implemented in some clubs so far.

Lea Rowing Club

Les Fitton turned 82 today at the launch of Explore Rowing and has been
given a new lease of life by the programme.  In recent years Les had
resigned himself to giving up rowing as he no longer felt able to row in
a
classic racing shell.  Since the arrival of the new Explore Rowing boats
at
the Lea Rowing Club, Les has been able to continue his participation.
 The
design of the new boats, slightly wider with a flatter bottom and
increased
stability, has given Les the confidence to get back on the water and
keep
going with the sport he loves. Les is delighted with the new boats. “I
thought my days of getting on the water were long gone but the new
Explore
Rowing boats have given me the opportunity to enjoy my sport again. I
love
that feeling of just getting out on the water and it leaves me feeling
healthy.”

Durham Amateur Rowing Club

Durham ARC is collaborating with the NHS and has received funding as
part of
the Changing the Physical Activity Landscape initiative (CPAL) to
support a
new Explore Rowing project. The club is working with a group of 40-74
year
olds who are at high risk from cardio-vascular disease. They have been
invited to take part in Durham ARC’s Learn to Row programme in effort to
reduce this risk.

So far 21 people identified by CPAL have come down to the club. In their
first session 16 felt able to take to the water and have a go at rowing
in
the new Explore Rowing boats. They were all really enthused and will be
coming back for more.  The programme is being supported by 10
volunteers.
Bill Pollard, Durham ARC’s Explore Co-ordinator, says “Explore Rowing
will
help us continue the work started by Project Oarsome in widening our
community access.  The Explore Rowing boats will help us market the club
to
a different type of participant and give them the confidence to get out
on
the water”.

Newark Rowing Club

Club captain Felicity Bound says that retaining members and volunteers
is
crucial at Newark Rowing Club – and Explore Rowing may be the solution.
Many
of their newer rowers don’t have time to train more than once a week.
The
Newark committee plan to use their new Explore Rowing boats to offer
less
serious rowers a regional league of inter-club regattas.

“Explore Rowing is about people just pitching up at a club and taking a
boat
out,” Felicity explains. “So there’s no need to trailer boats around. We
plan to have a regatta once a month so five or six over a season at
different clubs.”

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