British Canoeing has announced a Social Impact Programme to be run in conjunction with the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.
In September, the World Championships will see the best canoe slalom and kayak cross athletes from across the world gather at Lee Valley White Water Centre in Waltham Cross to qualify their nation quota places for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
British Canoeing is looking to use the event to shape positive environmental and social change through engagement programmes within paddlesport and the local community.
Ashley Metcalfe, CEO for British Canoeing, said:
“We want these World Championships to impart a long lasting legacy by using paddling as a vehicle to shape positive environmental and social change through ambitious engagement programmes.
“Working with our partners, we have a fantastic programme of activities which will have many benefits to the local community.”
The two flagship initiatives will focus on the environment and access, and a women and girls inclusion programme.
In partnership with Broxbourne Council, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Lee Valley Paddlesports Club and Better Leisure, the women and girls programme will train female paddlers to become instructors and leaders.
Following this they will be able to run a ten-week paddling course for local women and girls, culminating in a #ShePaddles conference during the World Championships.
Commenting on the upcoming initiative, Paskell Blackwell, Sports and Recreation Officer at Lee Valley Regional Park Authority said, “We’re delighted to be involved in this fantastic programme.
“Not only will the scheme encourage more women and girls to get involved in the sport, but it will also help to improve the representation of women within leadership roles with the possibility of further coaching opportunities available for the successful candidates at Lee Valley White Water Centre or through club activity at Lee Valley Paddlesports Club”.
The access and environment programme will focus on two key areas. Firstly, the creation of an accessible paddle trail which links the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to Lee Valley White Water Centre via the River Lee.
Secondly, it will educate and engage local paddlers in the maintenance of the waterways and monthly cleanups, to keep them free of both litter and Invasive Non-Native Species like floating pennywort.
Lee Valley Paddle Club, COP Club, Whoosh Canoe Club, Hemel Hempstead Canoe and Tower Hamlets Canoe Club, have already begun this process.
They spent a day working with the Angling Trust and Canal & Rivers Trust to clear tonnes of floating pennywort from the waterways along Lee Navigation. You can read more about that here.
Future events will be planned over the coming months.
For more information about the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, please click here.