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How the Stronger Together Fund is giving back to the paddling community

Last year British Canoeing’s Stronger Together Fund awarded over £200,000 to support 48 paddling projects across England that are focused on fostering inclusive paddling communities and supporting more people to get out on the water.

The Stronger Together Fund has been made possible due to our growth in membership* income and it’s being invested back into the community. 

Projects range from training staff to deliver on the water sessions for new paddlers to improving access to paddling within under-served and under-represented communities. The funding is empowering grassroots community initiatives, promoting paddlesports and broadening access to paddling.

Check out some of the projects that have received funding from the Stronger Together Fund below and how they are helping their local communities thrive both on and off the water. 

Downside Fisher Youth Club

London - £14,920

The grant has enabled the club to launch a three-year paddlesports programme for its young members, offering them a unique opportunity to learn new skills and have fun on the water. The programme started in March 2023 with drop-in sessions at the club’s pool to introduce the participants to kayaking. The club aims to establish a DFYC Paddlesports Club that will continue to offer paddle sports activities to its members and the wider community.

Downside Fisher

Image Credit: Downside Fisher Youth Club

All Aboard Watersports

Bristol - £6,345

The grant has enabled All Aboard Watersports to cover the cost of a Paddle-Ability instructor for one session per week for 30 weeks each year, for three years, plus the purchase of specialised paddle equipment. In the first year of the project, they delivered 25 sessions to local paddlers. The specialist equipment has made a big difference to the comfort and stability of paddlers in the boat.

This funding has dramatically enabled us to support disabled paddlers in the community and to participate in an active sport at an affordable price. The equipment we have been able to purchase has allowed us to accommodate a wide range of needs, ensuring everyone has a comfortable, safe and enjoyable experience.

– Blaire Hannan, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at All Aboard Watersports
All Aboard Watersports

Image Credit: All Aboard Watersports

Ripple Rebels

Dorset - £7,500

The funding will support Ripple Rebels’ innovative project that promotes inclusivity in stand up paddleboarding. It has allowed the group to purchase stable boards and create seated and kneeling supports. These supports aim to enable individuals with physical restrictions, such as low confidence, chronic illness, age, or disability to paddle comfortably.

Ripple Rebels

Image Credit: Ripple Rebels

Aspire & Succeed

Birmingham - £8,800

Aspire & Succeed has used the grant to purchase kayaks and equipment, and to train staff and volunteers as paddle sport instructors and bellboat helms. The project has reached over 300 people from diverse backgrounds, with over 80% of participants being from Asian or Afro-Caribbean communities.

The funding has meant that local people take charge of paddling sessions from set up to delivery to participation on the water which breaks down so many barriers. It has allowed the ordinary person and the person who never thought they’d ever take part in paddling to have a go and fall in love with a sport they would never have dreamt of taking part in.

– Gulnaz Begum, Project Lead at Aspire & Succeed
Aspire Succeed

Image Credit: Aspire and Succeed

Nowka Bais CIC

Birmingham - £7,680

Nowka Bais CIC is a community organisation based in Birmingham that promotes Bangladeshi culture and heritage through watersport activities. The grant is supporting the Nowka Bais CIC’s paddlesport project, which aims to introduce and develop paddlesport in East Birmingham, particularly among the South Asian community. Offering regular sessions of bell boating and kayaking at Star City on the Grand Union Canal, as well as other venues across the city. They have already reached over 500 participants since May 2023, with a diverse and inclusive profile of gender, ethnicity, age, and disability.

Nowka Bais Cic

Image Credit: Nowka Bais

The Stronger Together Fund exemplifies British Canoeing's dedication to creating a more diverse and vibrant paddling community. We’ll continue to share more from the organisations that have been awarded funding so you can follow along with the progress.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the great work the Stronger Together Fund is supporting then why not check out a few of our Paddler Spotlights from 2023.

Paddler Spotlight: The Rising Stars of Coventry

Paddler Spotlight: East London’s new community club

*As a governing body, British Canoeing has both UK and English functions. For membership, our provision is primarily for paddlers who are based in England. This is why the Stronger Together Fund is aimed at organisations based in England. If you live in Scotland you can join the Scottish Canoe Association. If you live in Wales you can join Canoe Wales, and if you live in Northern Ireland you can join the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland.