Sport in the community

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Canoeing/ kayaking is a brilliant way for people to come together and use the open spaces on the rivers, lakes and seas around us. It is one of the most accessible and sociable sports in the UK with something for every age, ability and pace of life. It is popular, with over 1m participants in the UK and we are good at it, winning gold and silver medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Canoe clubs across the UK contribute to promoting healthy lifestyles, helping to keep people happy, active and well.

Kingfisher Canoe Club, and our associated Pathfinders youth section, make up an open, inclusive group which has been run in Oxfordshire by enthusiastic volunteers for over 40 years. With a great friendly atmosphere and highly respected coaches we run a dynamic programme. This includes sessions and courses for adults and young people as well as trips to the UK, Europe and worldwide. These develop paddling ability plus a range of other skills including confidence, self-reliance, teamwork, respect for others and an appreciation of the great outdoors. Some of our youth members have gone on to work full-time in environmental management and outdoor education.

We are a non-profit organisation, currently seeking charitable status. We deliberately keep our prices to a minimum and channel funds back into developing paddlesport. We provide equipment for those who need it and welcome anyone who wants to have a go. We have built a great reputation for community paddling over the years, introducing hundreds of people to the sport, working with schools, universities, holiday activity schemes, Scouts, Guides and other groups. Every year we also help keep local streams clear of debris. We are proud to say that we offer a unique service to the Abingdon area.

Help is needed now because we will be evicted from our current premises in April 2017 through no fault of our own. A place to store equipment and run courses is absolutely critical to the survival of the club. Unless a new base is ready by spring 2017 we will be unable to operate next season and there is a real risk that the club would close.

With strong support from the community we have found a great potential site next to the Thames. At the moment it is an unused corner of a riverside field (see photo) so work is needed to make it suitable. We have planning permission and want to start building in early 2017. With enough funding we can be ready to run sessions and courses from the new site as soon as April.

It’s a relatively small build but will still cost £44,000. By fundraising and saving hard we have raised £23,000, but we desperately need another £21,000 for the project to go ahead.

The money will be used to build the new site, meeting all the special requirements of a riverside development and taking steps to make sure it can quickly blend back into the surrounding environment.

This grant will secure the future of a vibrant and friendly club. We can continue what we already do and also be able to expand to run more sessions, reaching more people. We are keen to encourage whole families into paddling and with a new permanent base we could run tailor-made sessions for these and other groups. A huge amount of work has been done to get us this far, please help get us over the final hurdle.

Duncan Sneddon, Chairman, Kingfisher Canoe Club

Kingfisher Canoe Club

Moment of Pride

Our friendly canoe club has introduced hundreds of people of all ages to paddling, inspiring them to enjoy the great outdoors. Many have then gone on to make it a lifetime activity. Setting up this new riverside base is essential for us to be able to continue.

Location: Abingdon