Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Patron UKSA, hosted a reception at St James’s Palace to celebrate the success of fundraising efforts for new facilities at UKSA’s centre in West Cowes. Her Royal Highness thanked guests, including supporters, UKSA graduates now working on yachts and in watersports and UKSA friends and encouraged efforts to raise funds to continue, as the next phase of the Building Better Futures landmark campaign begins.
UKSA (United Kingdom Sailing Academy) is undertaking a major redevelopment in West Cowes – the largest ever investment in its 30-year history. With £1m secured to date it has so far been able to purchase 4 new yachts, refurbish shower and changing facilities, and redevelop the old Cowes Youth Hall into a new maritime training centre with training class rooms, navigation training simulator and a “Superyacht” training galley for our hospitality training courses. The gym and sports hall have also been refurbished and will be available to the local community.
Ben Willows, UKSA CEO commented, “Building Better Futures is about enabling more young people from all walks of life and backgrounds to come to UKSA. It is about creating an environment where not only our teaching and activities are world class but also our facilities”.
Guests at the reception at St James’s Palace were able to hear first-hand experiences of schoolchildren from George Green School in Tower Hamlets who recently came to UKSA funded by a donation from the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. Jane O’Sullivan from the school recounted a Year 7 girl who told her that being on a keel boat in the Solent was “the bravest and freest she had ever felt, when she stood on the bows of the boat. It had made her feel like she could anything”.
The Princess Royal said during the event, “UKSA is a very special charity in that it works with such a range of young people from disadvantaged Year 6 children having their first experience away from home and on-the-water, through to students working towards a career in the maritime industry. I am delighted to be here tonight and lend my support to helping this charity realise the potential of more young people in this country.”