Sport England grant is secured to drive up canoeing at Rudyard

Over the past year, HeawardSports Ltd. has been supporting the fantastic Rudyard Lake Trust to deliver a range of funding bids. These aim to help the Trust secure and grow access to the lake for a range of paddlesport. The latest development in this exciting journey has seen the Trust awarded a grant of £10k from Sport England. This grant will fund a range of new projects at the lake, all designed to bring this popular Staffordshire beauty spot alive for paddlers of all kinds, including those new to the sport but who would love to explore the lake in a new, sustainable and very fun way.

The extension of opportunities to canoe and kayak at the lake will offer a fantastic new way to explore Rudyard in addition to the existing rowing boat hire programme and, once its construction is complete, the launch of the Trusts new trip boat.

The £10k from Sport England help aims to get over 1200 more people a year visiting the lake onto the water to experience its beauty through canoeing/kayaking/stand up paddle boarding (SUP). It will also help encourage people to join Potteries Paddlers the lakes resident canoe club. This will all be achieved through the following new opportunities:

  1. A kayak/stand up paddle board hire scheme.
  2. Delivery of British Canoeing courses at the lake.
  3. The creation of a new canoe trail to encourage more paddlers to visit.
  4. Improved launching facilities for paddlers of all abilities visiting the lake including those with a disability.
  5. Opportunities for exciting activities like SUP Yoga.

To ensure the best quality experience for participants and maximise safety all aspects of the project will be delivered under the supervision of British Canoeing qualified coaches.

This exciting activity programme is made possible by the £10k from Sport England. This grant will be used to purchase the following equipment and make important facility improvements which should all be ready by Easter 2020 when the Trust plans for all activity to commence:

  • 2 UK made Tootega Pulse tandem sit on top kayaks and associated equipment
  • 4 UK made Tootega Pulse single sit on top kayaks and associated equipment
  • 6 top quality RED Paddle Company stand up paddle boards and associated equipment
  • EZ Launch docking system and pontoon extension (see the video below – this is designed to make launching almost any canoe or kayak very stable and confidence-inspiring)

With ramped access from the car park, toilets, and changing area the new equipment has been carefully selected to inspire confidence and offer the

maximum possible accessibility even for those with a disability. where necessary the Trust also has a purpose-built disabled toilet/shower area available located within the activity centre.

The new equipment will be used to offer formal coaching programmes, provide general hire opportunities and facilitate guided tours amongst other things. Buoyancy aids, helmets, paddles, splash-proof cags and wetsuits in a wide range of sizes will be available for use by visitors.

An important part of the project is the creation of a new canoe trail. This aims to offer visitors a unique view from the water, of the lakes fascinating history, flora and fauna and tell many of the fabulous (and often very funny) stories of the lake and the people who have lived near or visited it in the past.

This project is also closely integrated with other work we have recently done to help help the Trust secure funds to create a new paddlesports store and workshop area that will be used by the Trust and Potteries Paddlers, the lakes resident canoe club.

As a result, of both projects, it is expected that a lot more people will be able to enjoy the delights of paddling on the lake including those with a disability.

To deliver these projects HeawardSports Ltd. has supported the Trust with:

  • Project design and development,
  • Business planning,
  • Procurement,
  • Competitor and market analysis,
  • Consultation and visitor survey work,
  • Partner engagement,
  • Bid writing,
  • Post-award grant management.

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