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CalMac helps launch the next generation of sailors on Barra

Forty-five young people on Barra have been given the chance to set sail thanks to CalMac's Community Fund.

The Children of the Sea Project was run as a partnership between Barra Children's Centre and Barra Watersports Club to deliver a number of activities for children and families, including awareness sessions to increase participation in water sports activities. The Fund allowed the club to purchase much needed safety helmets for a new group of level one dingy sailors and also assisted in the purchase of a much needed safety boat to deliver sailing sessions for beginners.

Thanks to the Children of the Sea awareness sessions the number of young people signing up for beginners sailing lessons increased sharply.

Theresa Irving from Barra Children's Centre said: 'The CalMac Community Fund has helped both organisations to work together to promote the importance of safety around water for young people on the island. Sailing can provide a lifetime of enjoyment and thanks to this project we are able to open up opportunities to more young people on the island.'

Last year CalMac's Community Fund was designed to create new opportunities for young people by supporting non-profit youth organisations based in a mainland port or island the company serves. Organisations applied for an award between £500 to £2000.

So far the Fund has supported 76 projects from woman's football in the Outer Hebrides, to the Campbeltown Sea Cadets and a Gaelic youth club on Skye. Each application was judged by a screening panel of young people recruited from across the company's network, in partnership with Young Scot.

'A key part of the Community Fund's aims is to open up opportunities for island young people that they would otherwise not have access to. Being surrounded by water sailing is an obvious choice for a sport to get involved in We were delighted to be able to help bring this lifelong interest to more of the island's young people,' said CalMac's Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Gordon McKillop.

On Lewis the Community Fund helped 60 young people participate in cycling through 'Going Places' within Volunteering Hebrides' Embark Project. The fund also helped the group purchase a Vanraam Fun2Go etrike which supports young people with additional support needs to enjoy cycling.

Pictures shows: Young people on Barra get a safety briefing before taking to the water


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