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Rowing back: AHOY Centre seeks teams to get their oars in the water

Based on the River Thames at Deptford, the AHOY Centre provides opportunities for disadvantaged and at-risk young people and enables disabled people to engage in activities and courses in rowing, sailing and other activities on an equal footing.

Like other group activities, the centre has had to adapt over the past year, organising individual challenges with regular supporters. Now, with restrictions slowly lifting, it is looking for teams from London’s diverse maritime community to come together and help it raise the money needed to continue and further develop its work.

The charity runs a series of rowing challenges on the Thames and in the English Channel, welcoming people from all walks of life who want to learn or re-start their rowing while pulling together to support AHOY’s charitable activities, as Senior Fundraiser Jonny Grady explains.

“Before the lockdown hit we had teams from London’s insurance, shipping, law and finance community signed up to take on our rowing challenges, plans that we had to shelve. We have continued to receive amazing individual support but with people creeping back to the office, we hope that these teams will feel the time is right to sign up for events later this year.”

All events are subject to continuing lifting of Coronavirus restrictions and AHOY is focussed on making sure its facilities are safe for teams to use with limited contact and controlled numbers. Events for 2021 are scheduled well in advance because the charity must co-ordinate not just with local authorities but the Port of London Authority too.

“The events take huge amounts of planning and preparation because we want them to be truly memorable for the participants as well as making a major contribution to our work,” says Grady. “The Port of London Authority is very supportive of what we do and now we are looking forward to getting teams back on the water.”

All AHOY’s activities and programmes are focused on bringing together people from many walks of life, working as a community to help others, build life skills, self-confidence and team building. Upcoming on-water challenges include:

Tuesday 29th June – Meridian Pull event, 8.5 miles from Chelsea to Greenwich, for teams of six, with all training and a coxswain provided.

Sunday 18th July – Barrier Challenge, Woolwich back to AHOY and through the Thames Barrier for teams of six, giving a unique view of London’s industrial past and future.

Two dates a month are available for a Kayak adventure on the Thames. This is a 3.5 hour guided tour for a two-person boat, with the London Kayak Company from the AHOY marina to Westminster and back. Evening dates also available.

Teams can find more information and sign up here. Companies that want to become partners with the AHOY Centre or make regular donations should contact Jonny Grady at jonny@ahoy.org.uk.

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