Rowing club helping people get out on the water in the Lake District with new bursary

The club in Kendal trains on Derwentwater. Credit: ITV Border.

A Cumbrian sports club has launched a new scheme to make rowing more accessible to all.

The Lakeland Rowing Club wants to attract new members from across the region by making learning to row as affordable as possible.

The Keswick-based sports club has created a fund to encourage people to get out on the water regardless of their financial situation.

Aggie was club’s first bursary recipient and said: “Rowing was on my mind for a long time and I always wanted to try it, especially on beautiful Derwentwater, but it was a bit tricky for me to pay for the course.

"With the cost-of-living crisis and other unexpected expenses, I thought I’d have to put it off for another year.

“Then I found out about the bursary. I’ve met like-minded people and felt a part of the team straight away.

"Being a member of the club gives me a true sense of belonging to the rowing ‘family’ and I look forward to Saturday morning sessions.”

The fund has been named after one of the club's founding members John Inman, and aims to ensure local residents of all ages can get involved without worrying about the cost.

Lakeland chair Julia McCumiskey said: “Rowing has a reputation as an elitist sport, but that isn’t the case at all.

"Our members are ordinary, local people who enjoy spending time on the water amid some of the country’s loveliest scenery.

"When people are under financial pressure, they need outlets like rowing more than ever, but paying to learn or for ongoing membership can feel like an unaffordable luxury.

“Our membership fees are already the lowest in the country and, as a charity, it’s important for us that those who can afford to pay full price do so.

"However, we want to make rowing even more accessible, to ensure it’s open to anyone who fancies giving it a try, no matter what their financial status.”

The Derwentwater club normally charges £110 for an adult weekend learn-to-row course and £40 for a junior course.

Julia said: “Anyone struggling financially can apply to the bursary fund for help to pay. There are no intrusive forms to fill in and all applications are confidential.

"Just drop us an email, tell us about your circumstances in a sentence or two and what you can afford to pay, and we’ll take it from there.”

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