In June 2016 Ben Dunne, Principal at Penketh High School, and Richard Sinnott of Warrington Rowing Club (WRC), came up with a plan. The aim was simple…
to use the sport of rowing to engage with disadvantaged children in the Warrington area and ultimately improve their lives.
The plan neatly coincided with initiatives that were being worked up by British Rowing and Henley Stewards Charitable Trust (HSCT). These ideas fermented into reality and in September 2016, Phil Lyons began his two terms as an HSCT Coach, based at Warrington Rowing Club.
A selection process took place to find year 9 pupils that would be take part. All the rowers would be on The Pupil Premium Register. In total, eight secondary schools from the state sector joined the scheme providing enough athletes for a boys and girls quad from each school.
As a Principal, Ben had a direct route into the schools from the top down. This quickly gave the scheme impetus and a timetable was established. The schools deliver their pupils to Warrington Rowing Club for a 2 hour slot with a member of staff staying on site. These slots are during the school day and there is an obvious attraction for the pupils, two hours rowing or double lesson of whatever they would have had in school!
Warrington Rowing Club benefits from a fee for each pupil and the activity happens outside of normal club hours.
In September 2017 the scheme increased to year 9 and 10 students. Henley Stewards Charitable Trust took a more direct interest and Richard Sinnott joined on a full time basis.
The 1st of February saw the first indoor regatta to compliment the summer regatta which will take place on 12 July.
Warrington Youth Rowing has now been registered as a charity actively seeking its own funding.