Hexham Youngsters Find New Confidence at Sea

A group of young people from Hexham from many different backgrounds, some who lack confidence and are finding the transition to adult life difficult, has been given a chance to learn the skills needed to turn their lives around, thanks to the support of a regional sailing charity.

The group of 11 young people from the Hexham Youth Initiative, aged 13 plus, joined the crew of Ocean Youth Trust North (OYT North) for an intensive two-day programme sailing along the North East coast despite having never been sailing before.

Like many young people, some of the participants face personal issues, ranging from disability, unemployment and homelessness, and is struggling to find the confidence to become more independent.

OYT North is the only sail training organisation based in the North of England dedicated to the development of young people and it aims to challenge individuals to achieve their true potential and helps participants to develop confidence in themselves and their own skills.

Whilst on board the youngsters were taught how to take responsibility for the running of the boat, sharing tasks and working as a team to achieve the best outcomes for the entire group. Whilst on board OYT North’s big yellow boat James Cook, everyone was given equal responsibility and taught that perceived inabilities are no barrier to success.

OYT North worked with the Hexham Youth Initiative to help them raise the money needed for the voyage and guided the group through thorough training before leaving in order that they were fully prepared for the challenge ahead.

Lisa Pyle, Youth Worker, from Hexham Youth Initiative said: “We have been looking to do a productive outdoor adventure activity with the young people for a while, as these types of activities often have the best outcomes in terms of boosting confidence and raising aspirations.

“OYT North’s programme offered the youngsters the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone, experience something new and have a real adventure while developing a lot of important skills.

“It was a fantastic experience for everyone and all of the participants got so much out of it - even though they were only away for two days they learnt so much and are so much closer now as a group.”

Steve Lennon, General Manager of OYT North, said: “Many young people who have joined us from Hexham have commented that they hadn’t considered sail training because they aren’t presented with the opportunity very often.”

“However as a charity we work with young people from across the entire North of England to remind them that it doesn’t matter how far inland you live, sail training is a fantastic experience which is open to everyone.

“This group had a wonderful time and have really progressed in their short time with us. I hope that they will inspire many more young people in the area to think about the sail development possibilities that are available to them.”

The Hexham Youth Initiative aims to provide a safe environment where children and young people can have access to information, support and advice and increase their confidence and self esteem through being part of the community and developing their own ideas and projects.

OYT North specialises in the personal and social development of young people through the unique medium of Adventure under Sail. It offers safe but exhilarating residential experiences to young people, helping them to discover more about the world and themselves while learning new skills.

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