Lewisham children take to the Thames to learn new skills

Young Volunteers at AHOY Picture: AHOY Centre Charity.

A Deptford charity is helping children struggling to adapt to the rigours of the classroom learn new skills in activies based around the Thames, which some students had never seen, despite living nearby.

The AHOY Centre based in Borthwick Street in Deptford, which believes in building life skills for young people through sailing and rowing is taking children from Deptford Green School for one day a week for water based activities.

The acitivites include boat building workshops, a river and beach school and rowing in the Thames with the aim of giving children transferable and life skills.

The  children, aged between 12 and 13 visit the AHOY Centre for one day per week for six weeks. The students are chosen by the school because they have struggled with attendance, motivation and learning.

Clair Ongley, the AHOY’s Operations Manager, said: “We are firm believers that education in its current format in schools is not suitable for every child. There are children who may not excel academically but do so in other areas such as sports and practical projects. So experiential learning is an important part of school life as well.”

Students will learn basic carpentry skills while working on practical projects, making a half model of a rowing boat and learning how to build paddles. The programme hopes to help developing life skills like teamwork, communication, problem solving and leadership which will all make young people more employable.

She added: “The head of the school, Mark Phillips, was looking for a programme that could help broaden the students’ horizon by enhancing their life experiences.”

“There was a concern regarding the fact that the local children did not have a proper idea about the local area. For instance, the children we are working with, had not even seen the river Thames before. Deptford Green has always been conscious of this.”

Phillips said: “Deptford Green School is delighted to be working with the AHOY Centre. We really appreciate the positive programme they have put together to help us engage the young people and to build their confidence. The group of students from our school that have been piloting their programme this term have had an absolute whale of a time and have gained immensely from the experience.

The AHOY Centre hopes to commence a second similar programme in September with more schools participating.

More details can be found on their website: https://www.ahoy.org.uk/

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