Canoeing qualification for the homeless
Published by Porchlight for Porchlight in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government
Dan (left) pictured with canoe partner Rodney, says that the project is a really good opportunity.
Homeless people supported by charity Porchlight are being given the opportunity to gain a qualification in canoeing thanks to a new project backed by Kent County Council.
Participants of the ‘Climb Aboard’ project will undertake 7 sessions of river canoeing and a sea kayaking lesson at Grove Ferry resulting in a British Canoe Union 1 Star Award. On completing the course participants will be invited to take part in a 40-mile canoe competition on the river Medway.
Richard Barnard, Activities Worker for Porchlight is running the project: "Physical activities really help to boost the confidence and life skills of the people we help, many of whom have been through devastating experiences. We really want our service users to gain useful transferable skills that will help them to live independently in the future."
Dan, 19, is taking part in the course and currently staying at one of Porchlight’s accommodation projects. He says the charity has provided him with a stable environment: “If it wasn’t for Porchlight I’d still be living in a flat that was unfit for human habitation, struggling with managing money and mixing with the wrong crowd. Now I’m looking forward to getting my own place one day and living more independently.
"The canoeing is a really good opportunity for learning to work as part of a team and for keeping fit. I’m really pleased to be a part of it."
Kent County Council awarded Porchlight £1,000 to fund the initiative as part of its Local Schemes Grant. Cllr Graham Gibbens championed Porchlight’s nomination for the funding: “The work that Porchlight does is important to Canterbury and particularly the area that I represent. I am familiar with the work of Porchlight in my role as local member, but also in my wider role at Kent County Council. So I was very pleased to have a chance to offer this kind of specific support to help the work that Porchlight does in Northgate and St Stephens. I trust that Porchlight will continue to make a valuable difference in Canterbury and across the county.”
The project has also been nominated for the Michael Whippman Award run by national homelessness umbrella organisation Homeless Link. The award focuses on the contributions of homeless people themselves. It was set up to challenge stereotypes about who is and can become homeless, whilst also showing homeless people that anything is possible.
This year the award was looking to find the best example of a project that uses physical activity to improve the well-being of its’ clients.
A spokesperson for Homeless Link said: "Activities such as those offered by Porchlight give people the opportunity to improve their health and wellbeing and gain confidence and qualifications that will help them get their lives back on track. The Michael Whippman Award was set up to recognise the contributions of homeless people themselves, and all of this year’s finalists have involved the people they work with in activities ranging from sailing to gardening, football and fishing."