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Sports and arts groups working with young people on the Isle of Wight are being invited to apply for travel support as part of Wightlink’s 2020 Community Sponsorship Scheme.

Last year Wightlink gave more than £800,000 of ferry travel to hundreds of clubs, groups and societies to help them attend mainland events and fixtures.

This is in addition to ad-hoc support for charities throughout the year and its ongoing sponsorship of the IW Council Talented Athlete Scheme – through which it provides discounted travel to the Island’s most gifted sporting individuals.

Applications for next year’s scheme are being accepted until 30 November 2019, with successful groups being notified in mid-December.

Ryde Rowing Club is one of the many sports clubs to benefit from the Community Sponsorship Scheme, committee member Stephen Bull explains: “Wightlink sponsorship is critical to Ryde Rowing Club as without this support our participation in mainland events would be severally restricted.

“This is particularly relevant to us as the we transport our boats and equipment on a 30ft boat trailer and minibus.

“The sponsorship is especially helpful and important to our Junior Squad. Our young people aged between 12 and 18 make up the bulk of our competing athletes, the sponsorship allows them to compete on the mainland on equal terms with mainland clubs.”

As well as supporting youth sports teams, Wightlink is also passionate about the Island arts scene, helping artists to showcase their work on the mainland, as well as bringing groups to the Island for all to enjoy.

David Pontin from Platform One College of Music explains how Wightlink support has made a difference to his students: “Our relationship with Wightlink is nearly 20 years old and is absolutely fantastic. Their support really helps to remove some of the barriers to taking young people off the Island and bringing guests to the Island to involve them in our curriculum.

“We’ve been on numerous tours and developed a really exciting relationship with Portsmouth Guildhall – without Wightlink none of these things would have happened in the first place – so a massive, massive thank you to Wightlink!”

Alec Broome, Sports Development Officer at the Isle of Wight Council, said: “The Isle of Wight Council Sports Development team are pleased to be working alongside Wightlink to provide many of the Islands talented sports persons with vital travel support. The sponsorship Wightlink offers enables these sports persons the opportunity to train and compete at a level not accessible on the Island, regular competition and top level coaching is vital for any athlete to reach their full potential. Without the support of Wightlink many of these athletes would not have the opportunity to test their skills and see how far they can progress.”

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says: “We are immensely proud of the achievements of young Islanders who show real dedication and commitment with regular travel to the mainland for training, events or competitions. As a company, we are keen to play a part in broadening the horizons of young people living on the Island, so really encourage groups to apply for support with ferry travel throughout 2020.”

Notes for Editors

The successes and achievements of those supported by Wightlink are regularly showcased on the ‘Wightlink in the Community’ Facebook page.

More information about Wightlink’s Community Sponsorship Scheme can be found here: www.wightlink.co.uk/information/sponsorship-isle-wight

Picture caption

L-R Back Row – Pete Allsopp, Club Chairman, Paddy Kearney and Ben Sanderson – Member of Club’s Junior Squad, Graham Reeve, Club Captain.

L-R Front Row – Emily Davies, Poppy Starkey and Dan Sanderson – Members of the Club’s Junior Squad.

For more information, contact Karen Woods on 07775 694266 or karenwoods@wightlink.co.uk


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