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The Children’s Sailing Trust has taught over 5000 children to sail since its foundation in 1997.
We began teaching sessions for children with special educational needs and disabilities ten years later, but always wanted to do more. And in late 2021 one of our dreams came true with the opening of our converted quarry in Garras, near Helston.
Our new accessible watersports centre at Trevassack Lake features adapted facilities and craft along with accessible accommodation, and allows us to provide hugely important inclusive sailing lessons and specialist classes to children with special needs and disabilities from across Cornwall and the UK.
A short history of the Children’s Sailing Trust
Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust, as it was first known, was founded in 1997 by John Green MBE. John grew up on the North Norfolk coast where he recalled the ‘life-changing experience, confidence and skills’ he gained from learning to sail a dinghy single-handed as a young boy. That experience was, and still is, the inspiration for the Trust. John wanted all school children around the Helford River to be able to learn to sail without charge, and didn’t take “no” for an answer!
To make this dream a reality, John started by buying some sailing dinghies, and with the help of many friends and volunteers, turned a vision into a charity that has since helped over 5,000 children to learn to sail, and gain confidence and a love of the water for themselves. John’s big idea, which we still follow to this day – is that sailing would be part of the school curriculum and that every child should be encouraged to participate. Mawnan Smith and Constantine were the first schools to sign up, and have worked closely with the Trust for over 20 years. Today, we work with over 20 primary schools as well as special schools and home education groups, and have a fleet of around 100 boats.
As well as John Green’s inspirational leadership, many others have made a big contribution, notably Alison Collins who was Chief Instructor and a Trustee for many years – it was John and Alison who built the solid foundations on which the Trust now stands.
Before he died in 2014, John, together with future co-chairmen Richard Nathan and Chris Fawell, spotted the opportunity to build a new facility at Trevassack Lake on The Lizard. This major investment opened in October 2021 after many construction delays thanks to the infamous Pandemic. It is enabling the Trust to offer a much greater range of watersports – particularly accessible watersports for children and young people with disabilities – as well as indoor teaching for the first time. We want to welcome people of all ages and abilities from all over the country to our new holiday homes, waterside cafe and watersports opportunities – the money spent with our subsidiaries helps support the work of the charity.