Minister supports Rowing in the City

Minister for Sport and the Deputy Lord Mayor of Westminster

Photo:  Iain Weir

Against the backdrop of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, representatives from rowing enterprises and organisations in London gathered on Tuesday 5th April to showcase initiatives in the sport across the capital.

In this iconic Olympic venue for London 2012, the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, was given the opportunity to see just how rowing was exploring all routes to a lasting legacy for the sport. 

The Minister heard about some of the innovative schemes and forward-thinking clubs in London.  The Serpentine Rowing Association has been working closely with the Royal Parks, Westminster School and London Youth Rowing in an exciting new partnership to provide an introduction to rowing for inner-city schools on the Serpentine. 

The Minister said;  “The bid for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was built on the promise that it would inspire a generation of people to take up sport.  Initiatives like the Serpentine Rowing project, with the support of Sport England, British Rowing and London Youth Rowing, can help do exactly that and will capitalise on the excitement that one of our key Olympic sports will bring to London 2012.”

Rachel Haining, Chairman of the Serpentine Rowing Association, said; “Inner city children have been given the opportunity to try rowing on real water in the centre of London and are thriving on the experience. Having braved the ice and snow over the winter they are now reaping the rewards of their commitment and several children are progressing on to club rowing – a true testament to the fact that ‘you can’t beat the real thing’! “

At the heart of rowing’s legacy programme, ‘Explore Rowing’ is all about new boats, new thinking, new opportunities and new rowers.   Organisations like London Youth Rowing are quite literally pushing the boat out with their Mobile Learn to Row programme, taking boats to communities in East London and the Olympic boroughs.  “Explore Rowing is a project that fits very well with London Youth Rowing’s purpose; to open up the sport of rowing to those who wouldn’t normally have access to it.  The Serpentine is a truly iconic site for us and we are thrilled to be here and to be able to offer young people the opportunity to get started in rowing in the heart of London,” said Jim Downing, Chairman of London Youth Rowing.

Chair of Sport England, Richard Lewis, said: “Explore Rowing will help more people to get involved in rowing in ways that suit them, and I’m delighted our investment is supporting this innovative programme. Great initiatives like this will help us to deliver a lasting mass participation legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

“Rowing isn’t all about the blood, sweat and tears we’ve all just seen in the annual Boat Race” said Di Ellis, Chairman of British Rowing.  “Rowing boats come in all shapes and sizes – just like people!  Today we are seeing just a part of rowing for all and our commitment to laying down a legacy for years to come”.

One year on from the launch of Explore Rowing by Sir Steve Redgrave this legacy initiative is gaining momentum right around the country.  

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