Durham ARC Pioneer Explore Rowing Programme with a Fundraising Event

Darc has become one of six pioneering clubs in the UK to offer the new exciting Explore Rowing courses.

Launched by Sir Steve Redgrave in May 2010.  The  vision behind the Explore Rowing Programme is that of a more fun, varied and with a flexible approach for adult rowers.  Funded by Sport England the British Rowing Programme is part of the British Rowing Whole Sport Plan 2009 – 2013 enabling clubs to attract more participants into the sport, providing resources and support to new and existing rowers such as the vibrant Explore Rowing on-line community.  Capital funding has been used to fund 50 packages of stable boats for clubs around the country.  Each package is worth £25,000 with British Rowing providing 50% and the club working with British Rowing to raise the final 50%.  So far six clubs have been awarded funding packages being Lea RC (Hackney, London) Stourport BC (West Midlands, Warrington RC (North West), Grosvenor RC (North West), Newark RC (East Midlands) and Durham ARC (North East).  British Rowing is the National Governing Body for the sport of rowing, including indoor rowing.  It is responsible for the development of the sport within England and the training and selection of the GB Rowing Team.

The ‘stable boats’ are rowing boats with slightly wider and flatter hulls than traditional racing boats.  This makes the boats more stable which is both reassuring to newcomers to the sport but allows the boats to be used for a wider range of rowing activity.

The courses have been running over a period of ten weeks since the beginning of June where participants have learnt the basics of rowing whilst experiencing the freedom of being out on the water achieving something new.   On completion of the ten week course individuals will have acquired skills recognised by every club in the country opening the pathway to taking part in specific rowing challenges around the country or getting involved recreationally at the club.

The first of Durham Amateur Rowing Clubs graduates having completed their ten week Explore Rowing course, under the guidance of Bill Pollard and a number of volunteers from the club namely Nicki Trewhitt, Kim Metcalfe, Rachael Oakenfull, Clive Hole, Peter Burdess and Jennie Kinnear.  Collectively, the soon to be Explore Rowing graduates decided for their final session to compete in a charity fund raising event for the Rose Education Foundation: rose-edfoundation.org. Having previously providing information and sponsorship forms to the competitors the bar and barbeque were also made available.

The Rose Education Programme provides a supporting programme to help provide appropriate educational opportunities both internationally and in the UK enabling many children and young people to enjoy a better future for themselves than they currently look forward to.  In areas of the World where education is not free the main purpose is to provide funds for as many people as possible to access an education which will help them take more control of their futures and empower them to make choices about their careers yielding a higher rate of return than any other investment available in the developing world.  In the UK young people also face their own particular hurdles despite education being open to all, there are still many problems associated with modern living.  The youth and community programmes based in the North East of England endeavour to improve life and social skills through the support of youth and community programmes.

British Rowing Explore Rowing Programme Manager, Rich Stock travelled to the North East to meet the new graduates and see their progress in the sport.   The event also attracted the British Rowing Regional Community Development Officer Rob Cree and Andrew James as well as the British Rowing Club and C&C Coach Debbie Connolly.

On race day there were four crews pitted themselves against each other.  In the first crew were Madelaine Remington and Debbie Newcombe with Claire Casling coxing, the second was Boya Wong and Kate McCormack with Janet Turnbull coxing, the third crew were Phil Whitfield and Bobby Sheen with Alison Danforth coxing and the fourth were Stephen Kay, Dave Thomas with Dave Henley coxing.  After some hard fought races the winning crew were Boya Wong and Kate McCormack with Janet Turnbull as cox.

With racing complete everyone made for the food marquee where they were also presented with their certificates by Rich Stock, having completed the course.  The grand total raised from sponsorship, barbeque and donations came to £380.

All the graduates have now decided to join the club either as recreational rowers or have joined a development squad.  The development squad will advance their skill level further to enable them to eventually link into the already established men, women or veteran squads.