The Boat Race Company has announced a bursary scheme in partnership with Gemini to help engage a new generation of potential rowers across a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds and build a bridge between sport and underserved communities.
The aim of the £75,000 Gemini Boat Race Bursary Scheme is to lessen financial hurdles and widen access of the sport by providing kit, equipment and logistical support and raising the awareness of rowing in underrepresented areas of the UK and Ireland. The bursary scheme will also provide rowing instruction, mentorship and facilities to students by removing the financial barriers that often prevent them from taking part.
“I welcome the introduction of the Gemini Boat Race Bursary Scheme which will break down many of the barriers, real and perceived, and introduce a new generation of students to rowing. I learned to row with London Youth Rowing and Globe Rowing Club, and both the lessons learned in the sport and the friendships I have gained have been truly life changing. It’s inspiring to think that this bursary will provide the opportunity for more people to experience the transformative effects of rowing,” said Callum Sullivan, CUBC Men’s President.
Blair Halliday, Gemini’s Head of UK, said “As Principal Partner of this year’s event, Gemini shares the Boat Race Company’s commitment to building a better future by empowering individuals through sport. Our founders understand firsthand the physical gains and hard skills that rowing nurtures in athletes and we want to bring those benefits to a wider group of students. We’re looking forward to seeing the programme in action.”
The first beneficiary of the bursary will be Fulham Reach Boat Club in London who will receive a grant of £25,000 to offer junior membership from 1 May 2021 to 36 young people who meet the qualifying criteria. A second grant will be awarded to a project in another location in the UK outside London while the remaining portion of the bursary scheme will be open to applications from clubs, schools and grassroots organisations around the UK and Ireland.
“FRBC is proud to be associated with The Gemini Boat Race Bursary Scheme and look forward to working with both Gemini and The Boat Race Company on helping deliver our vision of Rowing for All,” said Steve O’Connor, CEO at FRBC.
Participants in the scheme will initially go through FRBC’s Learn to Row programme and attend sessions three times a week. Once this is completed, and for those wishing to progress into racing, they will be offered the chance to train on the water up to five times per week.
To be eligible for junior membership under the scheme, the young people must currently be attending a state school including Alternative Provision, be identified by the school as coming from a deprived background or currently receiving the Pupil Premium, be a Year 9 student or older as from September 2021 and be willing to commit to regular weekly attendance at FRBC.
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