Basingstoke and Deane Canoe Club was awarded a Grassroots grant of £5,000 in 2009 to buy white water kayaks, safety equipment, including buoyancy aids and helmets, and to enhance the training offered within the club.
Grassroots is an exciting funding programme aimed at helping small, local voluntary organisations throughout England over the next 3 years and beyond. It is these groups, working at 'Grassroots' level, and the communities they serve who will reap a long-term benefit of this programme.
The new kayaks have already been used by the Club over the summer of 2009. At the weekly evening meeting on the Basingstoke Canal at Odiham the new boats have been popular with paddlers of all ages and abilities. Now with the autumn rain they are opening up white water kayaking to all members of the Club: modern equipment coupled with effective coaching is enhancing skill acquisition and encouraging regular participation.
At the end of October a white water training weekend was held on Exmoor. All the new kayaks and equipment were in use: the Dagger GT kayaks come in three sizes so everyone can paddle a boat that is the correct size. This foundation of good coaching has fostered the skills needed to paddle effectively and safely. In November the equipment was in use on the River Usk, where the heavy rain ensured there was a good flow.
Janella Mansell, a white water coach and the Club's coaching coordinator said "The white water environment offers a great opportunity to develop mental skills such as confidence, responsibility and leadership as well as providing physical exercise". Chris Higgons, committee member, said "These new kayaks and equipment are great. Quality paddles help beginners to get more power from their paddling and modern helmets and buoyancy aids provide effective protection if anyone should swim.â"