The Tower Bridge has ceremoniously risen today to welcome a group of 12 students who have sailed more than 300km from Hull to improve social deprivation and youth development in the heart of the country – despite never having sailed before.
The teens (aged 16-19) from Newark College, have been sailing on the seventh leg of the national sail. The wider charity scheme has seen 80 residents of a Nottinghamshire community sail from Portsmouth to London to raise money for the district of Newark and Sherwood. The area is currently ranked 323rd out of 324 in the UK by the Social Mobility Commission, which compares the chances of children from disadvantaged backgrounds doing well at school and employment across each local authority district area in England.
This is in direct comparison to London local authorities – 30 out of the 32 London Boroughs are in the top 20% of areas for social mobility.
YMCA Newark and Sherwood has joined forces with Tall Ships Youth Trust to circumnavigate the UK to raise funds for the YMCA Newark and Sherwood Community and Activity Village which aims to bring better opportunities to young people and families in the area. With the help of the experienced sailors from Tall Ships, the students have had the full experience – eating, sleeping and learning to sail on a 72-foot Challenger Yacht.
All of those involved in the expedition will be there to watch the boat pass through the Tower Bridge in what is a momentous occasion for the charity. Members of the YMCA board, YMCA England and Wales, Newark and Sherwood District Council, staff from Newark College, sponsor BNA Charity, Tall Ships and the crew of students will all be in attendance. All YMCA charities in London have also been invited.
The community hub will be unlike anywhere else in the UK, a space brimming with transformational opportunities for families at every point in their lives.