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Watersports Youth Matters

Project Status: Closed

Restorative Justice?

Using the underlying values of restorative justice such as power sharing, involvement in decision making, equality
and dialogue.

Watch our video to see restorative justice in action!

Watersports Youth Matters

The Water sports Youth Matters (WYM) project is a local, restorative justice, youth-led project that uses water sports as a vehicle to:
  • Provide marginalised children and young people with positive opportunities through water sports and high quality volunteering.
  • Help increase social and community cohesion in an increasingly divided community in South East London.
  • Reduce isolation and loneliness among young people, while improving health outcomes for them and their families.
WYM was initially supported through Local Giving Magic Little Grants and then funded by the London Mayor’s Summer Activities Fund and was run in the summer 2019. It was so successful that the Mayor’s office decided to extend the project, and thus we continued its services until the end of February 2020. 
With the support of #CelebrateNationalLottery25, the project also hosted a Youth Club that saw over 200 young people and families coming together during February half-term. Further youth events are also being held as part of the support provided by #NationalLottery 
Sports, water sports, art workshops and an award ceremony were some of the activities that took place, and which we hope to replicate in the years to come bringing people together of all ages and backgrounds through the values of restorative justice including power sharing, equality dignity and respect. 

The WYM Project

Using the underlying values of restorative justice (such as power-sharing, involvement in decision making, equality and dialogue), WYM created a safe space and new opportunities for young people to work together as equals, breaking down stereotypes.
We worked directly with children and young people, teaching them how to sail and performing watersports, giving them access to boats/canoeing, helping them to advance to the various RYA stages and providing them with opportunities to compete with each other. 
Alongside sailing and canoeing, WYM also generated high quality volunteering opportunities for local children and young people who tend to be excluded. Volunteering activities include running and evaluating the project, social action and campaigning. 

Project Aims

Sailing and water sports build confidence and get children and young people together independently of social class, backgrounds, abilities and cultures. It is also a powerful tool to foster community cohesion and can reach socially isolated groups such as children and young people at risk of exclusion.

Through shared learning and watersports, we:
  • Boosted young people’s confidence and self-awareness
  • Increased trust between all participants
  • Provided them with the opportunity to continue doing water sports in the future
  • Taught young people about culture and increased their self-confidence and cultural awareness
Young people MATTER!
Follow our Facebook page for videos, photos and testimonies

The Youth Scrutiny Panel sits at the heart of the project. They are engaged in facilitating the water sports activities on a volunteer basis from July 16th-August 25th. The YSP will run a youth-led communications campaign to showcase the progress of the project across the SE16 area, and London more broadly. Following the completion of the WYM programme (September onwards), the YSP will evaluate the project using a youth-led methodology. They will publish and disseminate the results in order for our organisation and others to be able to replicate the youth-led project model. As such, they will have the chance to learn and improve their communications and outreach skills by being involved in the creation of a webpage, which will share the discoveries of the project through social media, newsletters, video, testimony and photography.
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