Kayaking group “kept afloat” with funding boost

16th May 2024

A popular kayaking and canoe club in Burnham-on-Crouch has received a funding boost of £5,450 to expand its work.

Crouch Kayak Club was awarded the grant from the Turncole Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund, which is managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The Club has evolved significantly over the years, progressing from a just small group of local enthusiasts to become a vibrant club, welcoming newcomers and seasoned kayakers alike.

This funding boost has enabled the Club to buy Day Boats which are particularly useful for inexperienced paddlers, and to replace existing ageing accessories, including wet suits, paddles and safety equipment.  They hope this will encourage people of all ages to visit the club and try out the sport to see if they like it, without the need to spend any money.

Andy Coppin, Equipment Officer at the Club, said: “For inexperienced paddlers, navigating the exposed River Crouch, especially with offshore winds in the Winter, can pose a challenge. These Day Boats offer an alternative for our members to stay active and for new people to have a go, as they are much more stable.

“They are also easier to transport at just 9 feet long, compared to sea kayaks which typically range from 16 to 18 feet. Our membership continues to grow, so these will really help us to meet demand.”

A small group took the new kayaks out for their maiden voyage on the River Stour from Bures to Nayland. Andy said: “We had a mix of beginners and ‘old hands’.  After some of us spent the first few minutes gracefully spinning around in a circle, we soon all got the hang of it!

“The weather was perfect, the river was stunning, there was no road noise and we saw plenty of wildlife and birds, including kingfishers, ducks, geese and swans.

“We are so grateful to ECF and Turncole Wind Farm or helping us to acquire the new equipment. It will help people to have many happy days together, keeping fit, being outdoors and enjoying time on the water which is so peaceful and relaxing.”

The Turncole Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund was set up with ECF in 2016 to support charitable projects within the parishes of Southminster and Burnham on Crouch that are close to the Wind Farm development, and which enhance the quality of life for local residents and contribute to vibrant communities. A panel of residents work with ECF to make decisions on the applications for support.  Since it was set up, the Fund has given 74 grants totalling over £340,000 to a wide range of local projects.

These include:

  • £5,000 to Home-Start Essex to run a support group for families with pre-school children in Southminster.
  • £3,000 to Dengie Dementia Cafe for their outreach work helping people with dementia and their families in the Dengie Peninsula.
  • £2,040 to Burnham Allotment so they can organise art and craft sessions for local people, helping to tackle isolation and loneliness in the community of Burnham-on-Crouch.

Sandra Hollis is a trustee of ECF and Chair of the resident panel. She said, “It is important for us to work with the resident-led panel.  We really value their knowledge and expertise to understand local issues and priorities and direct funding to where it is needed most.”

If you’re interested in joining the Crouch Kayak Club, Wednesdays are the perfect opportunity for you to drop by the Sailing Club for a chat and to try it out or you can contact them via www.crouchkayakclub.co.uk

For information about applying for an ECF grant, click here.