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Sea Scouts make a splash with cash for new paddleboards

Sea Scouts in Gillingham will be learning to paddleboard thanks to a £250 sports award from Britain’s biggest electricity distributor.

From Press releases - 8 May 2019 12:00 AM

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The group has been awarded a third Team Sport Award by UK Power Networks to help them take to the water on new stand-up paddleboards.

Paul Austin, a lead field engineer with the firm, applied for funding for 4th Gillingham Sea Scouts, where he volunteers as an adventurous activity leader coaching canoeing, sailing, kayaking, rafting and power boating.

Paul, who lives in Sittingbourne, said: “It is really good to receive this award from UK Power Networks as it means we can buy new kit without having to increase membership fees. It also gives us more time to get kids out on the water, doing activities, rather than fundraising.

“Sea Scouts offers young people a really adventurous programme of activities which widens their horizons, gives them life skills, builds resilience, courage and a chance to gain qualifications with national governing bodies, as well as Scouting awards.

“A lot of young people in this country do not do enough physical activity and we have a serious obesity crisis so getting kids active and embedding that as part of normal life is so important. So many young people can’t even swim.”

The 4th Gillingham group provides scouting activities for young people from six to 18 and is based at Berengrave Lane, Rainham. The group meets for kayaking on Monday and sailing on Fridays.

Paul has volunteered with the Scouts for 15 years and has welcomed UK Power Networks’ new national partnership with the Scouts. The company is sharing electricity safety advice with thousands of Scouts and increasing awareness of help for vulnerable households in power cuts through the Local Knowledge badge.

UK Power Networks’ Team Sport Award scheme encourages staff to volunteer in the community and is aimed at promoting healthy living, teamwork and development of sporting opportunities. Hundreds of community and sports groups have benefited from grants since the scheme was set up. Last year £18,000 was donated to sporting groups connected to UK Power Networks staff.