Ardingly Rowers receive two significant grants in its 20th year

Sarah Mullins. Picture by Mike Mullins
Sarah Mullins. Picture by Mike Mullins
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Ardingly Rowing Club celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year and has received two significant grants which will help set it up for the next few years.

Since its founding it has grown from 4 to 120 members and has built up a boat stock of single sculls and boats for 2 and 4 athletes. The Club received an early boost to the fleet fifteen years ago when a grant enabled investment in Junior Rowing. Boats bought with this early funding were showing their age with dents and faded paintwork despite careful use. There is no boathouse at Ardingly so all boats are racked in the open air.

Sarah Mullins from the current Junior squad, who started rowing aged 12 and is now 15, wrote to The Rowing Foundation asking for help. The Rowing Foundation, supported by funds from The Henley Stewards’ Charitable Trust, were impressed by Sarah’s appeal and granted £2000 towards the £5000 cost of refurbishing five of these early boats. They are now back at Ardingly looking brand new and in tip-top condition ready to give another 15 years of service. Sarah said: “These boats have helped many beginners fall in love with our sport as they have had the best equipment possible and I want to make sure that, as more people join over the years, they will be able to feel this way too.”

The second significant grant this year came from The Gatwick Airport Charitable Trust. This grant of £2500 topped up the Club’s own fundraising efforts enabling them to invest in a second-hand quadruple scull suitable for Junior rowers and lightweight women to train and race, locally, nationally and internationally. A new quad scull would cost more than £12000 and consequently remains on the wish-list whilst a pragmatic approach to buying second-hand equipment makes best use of funds.

Fundraising efforts at the Club have included a Ball, a sponsored row, a family fun-day and a quiz night – and they are actively seeking support from local businesses. A new ‘Friend of Ardingly Rowing Club’ membership category has been created and launched in Sussex Life magazine in October 2015. They would love to hear from ex-Members and others who would like to get involved and support the Club through 2016 and beyond.

Di Binley, Chairman, told us: “We are a not-for-profit sports club run entirely by volunteers and with volunteer coaches supporting our 120 Members. Club Members hugely appreciate every penny donated towards equipment and running costs. The Rowing Foundation and Gatwick Airport Community Trust grants have given us a real boost this year which means we are well on our way to meeting our development plan objectives. We hope to repay their kindness in part through our results on the water!”

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