Hundreds of Plymouth schoolchildren will enjoy a spectacular day of sailing aboard heritage boats this May, giving them a chance to connect with the Mayflower story in a new way.
The ‘Spirit of Adventure’ programme was crowdfunded last year and the first part of the project is set to take place from 4 to 7 May 2021.
During the week, 240 children will enjoy a day of hands-on sailing adventure with one of four sailing organisations: The Island Trust, The Bounty Project, Sailing Tectona and The Lynher Barge CIC. The organisations have seven traditional wooden sailing vessels between them, which will undertake daily voyages in Plymouth Sound.
Led by Plymouth Waterfront Partnership (PWP), the crowdfunder raised £50,000 with support from individuals and organisations including Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, Mayflower 400 and Plymouth City Council.
Diane Mansell, Chief Executive of PWP, said: “As Britain’s Ocean City, and the departure point for many a famous journey, it’s shocking that so many children in Plymouth have never had the chance to try out sailing. The Spirit of Adventure project offers an amazing opportunity to engage children and young people with the waterfront, with the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park and with the Mayflower story in a very tangible way.
“We’d like to give a huge thank you to all the businesses and people that contributed to the crowdfunder to make this a reality.”
Chairman of the Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, Mr Alan Nichols said: “The Commissioners recognise the huge importance of our local community being able to engage with the water but also appreciate that not everyone has the opportunity to easily do so. We are delighted to have supported this project which will enable local school children to get out on the water to learn more about the Mayflower expedition, and to understand the importance of water safety and teamwork, which will be much needed when hoisting those heritage sails!”
The schools involved are located in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the city, with the aim being to work with children that have not been given these opportunities before, particularly those living in poverty, young carers and children in care. The following schools are taking part:
The Cathedral School of St Mary, Stonehouse
Compton CE Primary School, Compton
Drake Primary Academy, Devonport
High View Primary School, Efford
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, Prince Rock
Keyham Barton Catholic Primary School, Keyham
Laira Green Primary School, Laira
Lipson Vale Primary School, Lipson
Marine Academy Primary School, St Budeaux
Mayflower Community Academy Primary School, Ham
Montpelier Primary School, Beacon Park
Mount Street Primary School, Greenbank
Each day, groups of children will be encouraged to work together as a team, hoisting the sails and sailing the boats themselves with support from expert staff. This will help to build communication, social and cooperation skills and give them a sense of responsibility and achievement, giving a much-needed confidence boost and memories to last a lifetime.
Initially due to take place in 2020 as part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations, the Spirit of Adventure was postponed due to Covid-19. The second element of the project, giving children in care the opportunity to try out sailing, will hopefully take place later this year.