Future Blues project aims to boost state school rowing in London

The Boat Race, BNY Mellon, Newton Investment Management and Fulham Reach BC join forces to create Future Blues – a project to boost rowing in state schools across London

State school students in four London boroughs are set to benefit from the Future Blues project – a new scheme by The Boat Race Company and its sponsors BNY Mellon & Newton Investment Management.

Fifty-two schools in the four boroughs that border the Championship Course (Hammersmith & Fulham, Wandsworth, Richmond and Hounslow) will be the focus of the project, which aims to develop sustainable and competitive boat clubs in the schools.

The community outreach partnership is run in association with Fulham Reach BC, which aims to get all 12 state schools in Hammersmith & Fulham rowing in 2018 – the first time in the UK that a local authority has had every state school take part in rowing.

Hanneke Smits, CEO of Newton Investment Management, said “We are immensely proud to launch the Future Blues community project that will increase the total number of school rowing clubs in the UK by 50%. We hope this initiative will leave a legacy of not only social upliftment but diversity and education for the future.”

Steve O’Connor, CEO of Fulham Reach BC, said: “Rowing as a sport gives you a host of really unique benefits like teamwork, focus, and confidence, so I think it’s really important that we’re able to offer those opportunities to the state school sector. There are huge benefits for the students that take part that we think they will take into later life.”

Future Blues objectives in 2018

1. To ensure that every one of the 12 state schools within Hammersmith & Fulham will take part in rowing on The Championship Course. This will be the first time in the UK that a local authority has had every state school take part in rowing.

2. To create a Future Blues Regatta hosted by Fulham Reach Boat Club. Open to entries from all of the 52 schools that border the Boat Race course.

3. To establish a Future Blues Online Rowing League. Open to all 52 Future Blues schools through a fully accessible platform which is suitable for all abilities. Fulham Reach Boat Club will actively provide support to schools who do not currently have access to rowing machines.

4. To provide an inspirational visit from The Boat Race crews to meet with Future Blues schools. This will take place during the week preceding The Boat Race.

5. The Boat Race Future Blues Thames 100. A relay row from Oxford to London with teams of students from our partner schools completing 20-mile legs.  As well as the rowing the students get the chance to stop off at points of interest along the way. The row begins with a tour for the state school students around one of the Oxford Colleges to emphasise that Oxbridge is a real possibility for anybody.

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