Our charity was born out of an agreement between the developers, St. George, and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. As part of a Section 106 planning agreement, a boat club was created within the Fulham Reach development. Construction finished in Spring 2014 and Fulham Reach Boat Club opened it's doors in October that same year.
The vision for our charity is a simple one, to unlock the potential of young people through rowing. We believe in a world that gives every young person fair access to the same opportunities, allowing them to realise their full potential. On the water, Fulham Reach's coaches use four key aspects of rowing that help develop future life skills:
- Teamwork – Showing students how to work with others in a unique team environment and “pull together’’ in order to achieve a common goal, a lesson learned almost subliminally in rowing, the ultimate team sport
- Focus – Teaching the students determination, perseverance and focus as they take part in a physically, mentally and technically demanding activity
- Fun – Helping students have fun in a very different environment to that which they are used to, that is on a living river, dealing with the forces of nature, an experience that helps them escape from the everyday pressures facing today’s teenagers
- Talent – Enabling students who previously considered themselves “non-sporting” - usually because they lack a talent for traditional ball games - to participate in a unique leisure activity, and possibly discover an athleticism that they did not know that they possessed
We will create a sustainable and successful rowing club in all 12 London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham state schools by 2021 and demonstrate the improvements in physiology, behaviour, social skills and academic results through participation. Once we have achieved this we will then open up the same opportunity to the students at all 52 state secondary schools which border the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race couse. The overall outcome of our work will be to raise the life aspirations of every student that takes part in sessions.
In the academic year 2016/2017 the students were able to achieve:
- 1,000 Participants
- 8 Schools
- 57% Female participation
- 49% Black, Asian or Minority Ethnicity participation
- 81% Enjoyed the rowing course
- 80% Want to continue rowing
- 74% Have improved communication skills
- 84% Have improved team working skills
- 68% More interested in sport generally after completing our rowing course
In 2017/2018 there will be rowing sessions taking part for every state school in Hammersmith & Fulham, something which we believe is a first in the UK for a local authority.
Unlocking potential: The proof...
“We really appreciate your support for our mish-mash of students and if you had heard Sonny talking about the race it would have been a lovely moment for you! He enjoyed it so much and was talking me through every part of the morning. I can’t begin to tell you what a difference the rowing is having on his behaviour at school, his discipline, time keeping etc.”
Beth Cutting, Teacher in charge of rowing at Hammersmith Academy
“My heart was pumping; my legs were shaking. It’s like your mind slows down and you’re just taking in everything. I never really found a sport I could do properly. I could play basketball but not too great, I couldn’t play football at all and the other sports didn’t really do it for me. When I found rowing I just really enjoyed it. In training they will push you, they will push you to your limits and when you think you can’t go anymore, you go more! After that first training session it’s like it forced an old gate open to new potential. Rowing gives you a huge character boost, it gives you a huge confidence boost. Things that may have seemed to be a big problem didn’t seem to be much of a problem anymore. There’s not many people that have this skill, especially kids in London and I think kids in London should be taught to row. It would be very beneficial for them and I’m glad I learnt to row because it’s been very beneficial for me.” – By: Christian Yr12 – Burlington Danes Academy
“The first time I went rowing I was very nervous and I ended up asking to get out of the rowing boat because I was scared of deep water. However the following week I was about to quit due to my fear but as I passed where the rowing takes place I realised that this was an opportunity I couldn’t let go of. So I decided that I was going to go and try again, my teachers and peers motivated me to do so. Once I was on the rowing boat my fear was overruled and we began to row through the Thames. I was slightly wary at first and the leader of the boat told me to stay in the safety position though out the rest of the session. As I began to watch my peers row I was intrigued and asked if I could row. As soon as I started rowing it was like second nature I adapted to the technique very quickly and did not want the session to end. Now I can not wait for the following weeks as it was so exciting and fun. So this goes to show you should always persevere though challenges and never give up.” By: Bonnie 9H – Fulham Cross Girls School
'When my son started secondary school he hated all sport and dreaded sports afternoons so much!!! The Headmaster said to my son that however long it takes they WILL find a sport that my son would enjoy. I was hopeful! Well Year 7 passed and he didn't enjoy any of the sports, same in Year 8!! In Year 9 he was introduced to Rowing at Fulham Reach Boat Club and from then on it was like a 'duck to water'!!!! At last he had found a sport which he really enjoys. The school were right - a sport had at last been found!! I was actually surprised at how much he enjoyed it. It wasn't easy at first, obviously never having rowed before it was tough. The stamina, strength and timing were an issue at the beginning, but as time has gone on he has shown good improvement and in turn experienced taking part in the trials and got to represent The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham in the London Youth Games Regatta this year in the mixed quad race. He still has a lot to learn, but the experience was fantastic and gave him a real taste of competitive rowing and encouragement to continue. My son would now like to take the next step and join one of the rowing groups at Fulham Reach Boat Club which run some days after school and some weekends. It is wonderful for me as a parent to see him happy doing a sport he really likes and to actually look forward to going to rowing and not dreading it!! The fact he wants to join a group is proof to me that he is serious about improving his rowing. He enjoys working together with his friends as part of a team and the freedom of being outside on the water (even in the winter!!!!) and of course the physical exercise, which in turn develops the muscles, the strength and stamina. The location is fab too! By Ricardo’s mum – Yr 9, Fulham Boys School