Rowing and Sport Unlimited

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Sport England have introduced ‘Sport Unlimited’, a scheme to provide funding to groups that target young people turned off sport by traditional activity. The three-year programme will enable 900,000 more 11-19 year olds to choose from a vast range of sports including several in which Team GB has excelled at the 2008 Olympics. It is hoped that the 10-week taster sessions will lead to young people joining clubs and continuing with their chosen sport once their session ends.

The sport of rowing has been proven to engage the widest range of young people.  Since 1996 the ARA has recognised the need to attract both the sporty and semi-sporty type of young person.  Sport England evaluations identify that many young people disinterested in traditional ball, racket and invasion sports are engaged by rowing. 

Participants can take part in a range of rowing activity, including

  • indoors on machines
  • at the sea scouts in gigs
  • off shore in traditional wooden boats
  • in boats designed to win Olympic medals.

Many rowing clubs offer Learn to Row courses which schools and youth clubs can access through Project Oarsome.  These tend to last for 8 to 12 weeks with both recreational and competitive opportunities offered to keep people involved. 

Young people can also access activity through the ARA Indoor Rowing Accreditation Programme.  The ARA fully supports the development of indoor rowing, however we recommend that Sport Unlimited investment is used for water-based activity and when used for indoor rowing that links are made to a local Clubmark Rowing Club to help sustainability. 

Both the indoor and water-based courses offer a range of recognised skill awards, personal challenges, appropriate competition as well as leadership and coaching award schemes

To find out how rowing has engaged two semi sporty young people click below;
Gemma Lovatt – from Stoke on Trent
Alex Cheyne – from Doncaster


Sport England and the ARA have produced guidance notes for Sports Development Officers, CSPs and PDMs related to Sport Unlimited