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Smooth sailing for some of London’s most disadvantaged young people

Smooth sailing for some of London’s most disadvantaged young people

20th December 2016

Earlier this year, Sea Cadets, with funding from Youth United, opened the Saturday Club at the Sea Cadets Royal Docks Boat Station in East London for young people aged 11 to 18. Every weekend, teenagers living in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney and Barking and Dagenham, had the opportunity to learn sailing, rowing and paddle sports for free and gain nationally recognised qualifications in first aid and water sports.

One of these young people is Hazel Jasper, now 18, who found out about the Saturday Club from the Newham Recorder back in May 2016. Initially, Hazel was not particularly interested in attending, but she went along to a trial session to support her younger brother. Hazel now admits that the Saturday Club exceeded her expectations, gave her a new outlook on water sports and allowed her to try new experiences and make friends.

Despite her initial aversion to sailing, Hazel ended up joining Newham Sea Cadets, a unit funded by Youth United. Hazel, who was able to gain her first RYA Sailing qualification in only 3 months, now helps instructors teach and takes out other cadets on double-handed boats. She also demonstrates advanced manoeuvres other cadets would need to know in order to gain extra qualifications.


“Since I have joined Newham Unit I have become more active, I participate in virtually every competition and always take up opportunities given to me. I am more confident in my abilities and know that if I put my mind to something, I can do it”


Joined by both her younger siblings, Ben and Kacey-Leigh, who are also part of Newham Sea Cadets and her mother, Kimmi, who now helps out occasionally as a volunteer, Hazel has gone on to gain further water sports qualifications, including a Sailing Assistant Instructors’ qualification. Her future plans include passing not only her A-levels, but also Sailing Instructor, Safety Boat and First Aid qualifications.

Hazel recently won a 5-year scholarship with an international law firm and hopes to pursue law at university. She attributes this success, in part, to time spent with the Sea Cadets, where she developed a range of skills, including verbal and interpersonal abilities.

This is not surprising as, Seb Britton, Development Worker for Sea Cadets, added that being part of a uniformed youth group contributes to young people’s personal development and academic life.

Now 18, Hazel is preparing to go back to the Sea Cadets in March 2017, as a volunteer. For anyone who is thinking of joining Sea Cadets, but is unsure, Hazel would tell them “give us a month and I can guarantee you will notice you made the right choice”.

** You can find out more about the Saturday Club and Sea Cadets here.