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by Zoe Remnant in Hayling Island, England, United Kingdom

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Rowing: Oarsome Fitness and Fun, encouraging even more people to enjoy all the benefits of rowing and being part of a great club

by Zoe Remnant in Hayling Island, England, United Kingdom

Langstone Pilot Gig Club allows all sorts of people, of varying degrees of fitness and ability, from the age of 11 to beyond 80, to enjoy rowing for both fitness and fun; it offers the chance to become more active, make new friends, build self-confidence and learn new skills. Exercise improves physical and mental well-being, and being part of a club such as ours, with a committed and supportive membership, boosts social interaction for those who may be unable to access other community clubs.

Our club is already a thriving part of the local community; the local Hayling Islander newspaper frequently features the club’s activities and we, with our distinctive blue and white striped oars, go to local schools, participate or organise community and harbour conservancy events to promote healthy lifestyle choices and encourage more people to give rowing a try.  Our open row sessions are held most Saturdays where newcomers come to try gig rowing and, once they’re hooked, progress through the ranks to join one or more of the various rowing squads; Juniors, Men’s, Ladies, Vets (over 40s), Supervets (over 50s), Social and most recently Endurance. Once a month we hold an Intra-club regatta where all aspects of the club, from the active and progressive junior section to the willing and enthusiastic Over 55s, come together to socialise and experience the thrill of racing in mixed age & ability teams and there are many other varied social activities throughout the year such as skittles evenings, midnight rows and Halloween walks.

We currently have 5 boats, 3 wooden (Star of Northney, Heart of Hayling and Spirit of Langstone) and 2 plastic (C Shel and Islander) and 5 sets of oars which allows 30 people to be rowing at any one time. However, oars suffer general wear ’n tear, get damaged and even break which means that on occasion we are unable to utilise our full capacity.  We have a good team of volunteers who help maintain the oars and they have recently held a workshop to encourage others to learn the techniques needed to keep the oars in the best condition possible.

Through our project “Rowing: Oarsome Fitness and Fun!” we would like to encourage even more people to experience and enjoy all the benefits of rowing and being part of a very inclusive club.  In order for us to make full use of all our boats and volunteer trainers, we desperately need another set of oars so that when some (or all) of a set are invariably out of action for repair, refurbishment or just some tlc we still have enough to be able to man all the boats and get as many people as possible out on the water.

For us to continue with this project we are looking to purchase a set of 6 oars at an approximate cost of £450 each (Total £2,700) which we have partially funded already. This additional set of oars would allow Langstone Pilot Gig Club to further promote rowing as a lifestyle choice and encourage more people to discover “Rowing: Oarsome Fitness and Fun!”

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