Disabled youngsters take to the sea after Tesco Plymouth grant

MORE disabled youngsters will be able to enjoy life on the ocean waves thanks to funding from Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative.

Ocean Discoverability, a project within the Island Trust, has shown hundreds of disadvantaged youngsters the joys of sea life on traditional wooden boats. The small Plymouth-based fleet of traditional vessels enables those aged 14-18 to learn sailing know-how, as well as to develop social skills and support independent living.

Bags of Help, in partnership with environmental organisation Groundwork, awarded the group £2,000 to make the lessons learned at sea even more interesting for young people in Plymouth and Cornwall.

The Tesco grant will pay for safety equipment, including additional lifejackets, and educational materials for use by the young people when they’re on the boats and long after.

The grants are awarded to thousands of community projects every year. Since launching in 2015, the Tesco scheme has provided more than £67million to more than 21,000 local community projects.

John Hepburn, Ocean Discoverability project manager, said: “We’re very grateful to Tesco for this grant. It will make a big difference to the young people who sail with us.

“We provide life-enhancing residential and day-sailing activities for young people with special needs, disabilities, and those experiencing hardship and deprivation.

“To go out on the boats gives these young people not only the opportunity to widen their horizons but also develop their skills and capabilities through the joy and challenge of learning to sail.

“It is about understanding that the sea is an amazing place, amazing things live in it, and people do amazing things with it.

“The schools have said that any time their young people spend with us is really beneficial – and such time would not be possible without the generosity of organisations such as Tesco.”

Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different recipients for Bags of Help grants each time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions are awarded funding.

Voting runs in stores, with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award, using a token given to them at the checkout. Grants are now available from £1,000 up to £4,000.

Keith Jackson, Tesco’s Bags of Help manager, said: “We’re proud to support Ocean Discoverability in making the sea more accessible to young people. It’s wonderful to see the project thriving, showing first-hand how a Bags of Help grant can have a positive impact on local communities.”

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s national chief executive, said: “Bags of Help continues to enable local communities to improve the local spaces and places that matter to them. The diversity of projects that are being funded shows that local communities have a passion to create something great in their area. We are pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to help local communities thrive.”

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project, and organisations can apply online.

To find out more visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp