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New study reveals sailing builds resilience in children

by Lianne Barnard 23 Sep 2020 22:16 BST

School children learn to cope with a host of challenges, stresses and worries in life - just by learning to sail - according to new research commissioned by the Roseland Youth Sailing Trust (RYST). The research compares children's estimation of their ability to cope in a variety of stressful situations before and after a sailing course, with findings demonstrating a significant enhancement in self-confidence.

RYST organises sailing courses for schoolchildren free of charge to parents and schools. With social distancing rules in place during the summer holidays, the trust set aside £25,000 for one-to-one tuition for 100 children to help them bounce back from lockdown. In fact 200 children applied and the Trust is seeking additional financial resource to work through the backlog.

News of the study comes as RYST announces its first ever Ambassador, skiff sailor Jack Hawkins, 25, who is a member of the British Sailing Team. A Cornwall native, born in Truro and sailing since the age of 10, Jack has first-hand experience of how sailing builds resilience at a young age.

The study, which is titled Sailing & Perceived Future Coping Ability in Primary School Children, is published by Cornwall Children's Research Service in association with Exeter University's College of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Leading the research, consultant child psychologist Dr Ian Frampton commented: "We know that learning to sail promotes wellbeing and self-esteem in children. But this is the first study to look specifically at perceived future coping ability. Believing you can cope with life's shocks, setbacks and uncertainties is core to resilience - and especially relevant during the pandemic. And while more extensive research will help substantiate the results, this study shows what can be achieved in just six sailing lessons."

Said Trust Ambassador Jack Hawkins: "I know from my own experience there's nothing like sailing to build confidence and resilience - not just in racing, but in all aspects of life.

"Many families in Cornwall would love their children to learn to sail, but struggle to pay for lessons and kit. RYST is making it possible for a whole new generation of sailing talent to take to the water, so I'm delighted to help showcase their work."

Roseland Youth Sailing Trust chairman Dina Croft said: "It's fantastic to see what we already know to be true backed up by the science. We're so happy we've been able to support a large group of children throughout this really testing time - all thanks to the continued generosity of our donors."

Since launching in 2015, RYST has funded sail training for 739 children across 17 schools in Cornwall at RYA-approved centres.

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