Keen canoeist Andrew Percy, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, joined Richard Parry, our chief executive, and young people aged 16-19 at a new canoe taster session in Goole on Friday 17 March, as the town looks forward to hosting England’s first coast-to-coast canoe trail.
Travelling through Wigan, Blackburn, Burnley, Leeds, Skipton and onto Goole, it will take the average paddler 7-10 days to complete the Desmond Family Canoe Trail. The trail is named after newspaper proprietor Richard Desmond, who donated £1.3m to the project and has the support of British Canoeing and Canoe England.
Andrew Percy, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Goole MP said: "As a keen canoeist I’d love to see more people enjoying the waterways. These free canoe tasters are a great way to encourage young people to take up the sport in the longer term ahead of the Desmond Family Canoe Trail coming to Goole. It’s been brilliant to hear first-hand how much these young people, many of whom have never been in a canoe, have enjoyed getting afloat. I hope this will encourage Goole to open its first canoe club and wish the Canal & River Trust, East Riding Council and all those involved every success."
Richard Parry, Chief Executive at the Canal & River Trust, said: "The Desmond Family Canoe Trail is an exciting project to enable the millions of people along its route to enjoy some of the 2,000 miles of waterways we look after. Even on a blustery day like today, the thrill of getting out on the water is plain to see. It would be wonderful if today’s canoe taster could be the start of a lifelong interest for some and that’s at the heart of our work – helping people to make the most of their local canals and rivers."
Nearly 2,000 young volunteers (15-25 years-old), from some of England's most deprived communities are helping to create the UK’s first ever coast-to-coast canoe trail. The volunteers are also helping to design the trail, organise and run a year-round programme of activities for their local community, as well as improving the environment along the trail, by planting new community gardens and habitats. In the face of 21% youth unemployment across the country, this Desmond Family Canoe Trail is a project that helps to give young volunteers the experience they need to find employment in the future.
The canoe taster session is part of the ‘Goole Paddlers Project’ run by East Riding Council and funded through Sport England. The project aims to encourage young people to enjoy the recreational use of local waterways through free canoe sessions, run from the Yorkshire Waterways Museum, using the Aire and Calder Navigation. For information about the free canoe tasters call Jess Beckett on 01482 395318.