Into The Blue

by Ballyronan Boat Club in Magherafelt, Mid Ulster, United Kingdom

We did it
On 17th June 2022 we successfully raised £8,915 with 47 supporters in 49 days

Through sailing, inspire young people to dream big by giving them the confidence and composure to believe in themselves.

by Ballyronan Boat Club in Magherafelt, Mid Ulster, United Kingdom

New stretch target

We have a generous offer of match funding up to £5000, which would allow us to get six young people out of self-inflicted isolation after Covid-19 and developing their future. Our next target would be £19,000, which would allow us to offer the joy of sailing to disabled people. To achieve this, we would purchase an RS Venture Connect; a small sailing keelboat with modules to cater for various disabilities.

Get Out There

We are a small, but enthusiastic boat club in a socially deprived area on the shores of Lough Neagh. We have all experienced the boost of confidence you get when you are able to harness the wind and control a sailing boat. We would love to make this available to young people who struggle to find their 'thing'. It's too easy to get sucked into the social media vacuum, where perception is often far from reality. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many young people regressed and now find it difficult to form social bonds. 

We are aiming to take on a practical challenge and help young people to help themselves. We aim to refurbish 3 x dilapidated boats which would then be available for young people to use. At the same time as the practical project work is going on, we will develop their confidence on the water by giving them sailing lessons in small sailing dinghies. They will be rewarded with official RYA certificates as their skills develop. Their training will include racing at other clubs, to bring them into new social circles and help them form bonds with like-minded people. The next stage is to encourage and mentor them to become the trainers for the next kids coming through. They will develop a great sense of pride and self-worth as they see their new proteges sailing off independently. These young people are the future of our sport and we are keen to give them as many experiences as possible, in the hope that they could reach the pinnacle of their sport. We believe that the physical work of repairing these 20-year old boats will have a positive affect on their mental wellbeing. They will have a sense of ownership and pride in their accomplishment. The excitement of sailing a boat which they have helped to resurrect is very fulfilling and teaches them that hard work pays dividends. They will also have developed confidence in their sailing abilities, through coaching and peer learning. As the first group comes through the project, this will mushroom into many more young people and re-invigorate the sport in our area.

We may have lost a few years to Covid-19, but we are determined to shape a better future as we emerge from the pandemic. 


Community impact

The western shores of Lough Neagh have suffered from underdevelopment for decades. It's time to build a generation of people who are proud of where they live. If we can create a few local stars, it will show children that anything is possible. As the kids come through our scheme, we will use some of the local fishermen to educate them on the myths and legends of Lough Neagh. This will be a great opportunity for cross community understanding.


Why are we crowdfunding?

We have not had any new equipment for over 15 years and young people are put off by our old, dilapidated boats. Club membership fees are only enough to cover basic insurance and maintenance, so we could not afford the capital outlay required for a new boat. Ideally, we need something with a bit of zing to attract young people. For now, we are proposing to upgrade existing boats, which will also help with the essential skills required in a modern career; communication, perseverance and problem-solving. So many people, especially children, have been socially hampered by the effects of Covid-19. They lost out on extra-curricular activities and human contact. We are aiming to get a group of young people to work on a few projects together and revitalise them. Hopefully it will evolve into a sporting career, or at least help with the teamwork aspect which has been absent during the era of online learning. 

How we’ll spend the money raised

We will purchase materials to overhaul several existing boats. It will be a bit like Car SOS; lots of cleaning and basic repairs, then bolt on a few new items like sails, halyards and sheets. 


The children will undertake a mini sailing apprenticeship, teaching them to lay fibreglass, work out sail sizes and check engines. They will need to work out how the boat was designed to be rigged by researching sales brochures, manuals etc. The boats will need to be tested for buoyancy before being relaunched in all their former glory, complete with proud children who carried out the hard work of refurbishing them. If we exceed our fundraising targets, we will put the excess money towards a new RS Feva; a purpose-built boat for fast fun on the water.  


How you can play your part

There are a few simple ways to help us reach our target, and make this project a reality.

1. Don’t delay; pledge today! 

2. Spread the word. Share our project on your social media pages and tell the world to get behind us! The more people we reach, the more support we will get.

3. Help us to help others. If you can donate gifts, we will use them as rewards, or raise funds through sales, raffles or auctions.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£120 or more


Be the proud owner of a unique symbol of the area; the Lough Neagh eel, represented in a colourful flag.

£20 or more


Receive a personalised thank you certificate from the club members driving the project.

£40 or more


Your name will be added to the mosaic of generous donors, emblazoned onto the side of the new boat for posterity. A great reminder of the personal sacrifice and support from the crowdfunder community.

£80 or more


Receive a vial of the peaty Lough Neagh water, a small sample from the largest freshwater lake in the UK. Use it as a mixer, put it in your fishtank, or let it settle on your display cabinet. The choice is yours.

Got an idea like this?

Over £200 million has been raised from our crowd to support the projects they love! Plus tens of millions more unlocked by our partners.