23 September 2021

#BackOnBoard: an unforgettable summer

As the season draws to a close, we look back over the summer, delighted to have welcomed so many young people #BackOnBoard when they have needed support the most.

Just like that, the sun is beginning to set on the Trust's 2021 season. Our test sail during July’s Round the Island Race feels like it was just yesterday. The buzz of welcoming young people #BackOnBoard in Largs and Bangor for the start of the season is still fresh in our minds.

Since then, there have been Taste of the Trust days all over the UK and week-long adventures at sea and activity centres. Altogether, more than 325 young people got #BackOnBoard with us this summer.

After a year and a half of so many ups and downs, and as many unknowns, it has been magical having the Trust community back together in person again.

2021 – by the numbers

New for this year, Taste of the Trust days were enjoyed by almost 150 young people at 10 venues across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and the Welsh borders. All of them will be invited back for a four-day week of sailing in East Cowes or Largs in 2022.

More than 170 young people who have been supported by the Trust before returned for one of 13 outdoor adventure weeks or longer sailing cruises. These were similar to previous years, but with smaller crews to be COVID safe.

The magic was still there

Trust CEO, Frank Fletcher, said: “In April, I said nothing would make me happier than the Trust supporting young people in person again this summer. It was a different kind of summer, and it wasn’t without challenges, but bringing them back together was this amazing light at the end of a long tunnel.

“We took the Trust on tour across the UK so that young people would not have to travel the lengths of the country while COVID is still with us. Return trips had fewer people so that no one had to share a bunk. Surfaces were wiped, offices were fogged. These extra measures were necessary in keeping everyone safe so that young people got the support they need right now.

“We cannot thank our fantastic community of volunteers, skippers, and Trust leads enough. They all took this unique season in their stride. They went out of their way to ensure young people were kept safe and that the Trust magic was still there. And it was.”

Not over yet

Last week we had our canal trip in partnership with CanalAbility. More sedate than a yacht, canals offer young people with mobility issues the chance to get all the same benefits of being on a boat with others who have been through something similar. At the start of October, young people will be taking part in the ASTO Small Ships Race - keep an eye out for fancy dress!

It has been an unforgettable summer. Thank you to everyone who made it happen: charity partners, hospital contacts, fundraisers, the Trust community of volunteers and skippers. We were there for those who needed us most and we got #BackOnBoard because of you.