The Ahoy Centre calls on Wharfers for support

By Beth Allcock on July 25, 2014 1:33 PM |

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For The Ahoy Centre, sessions spent sailing the waters of the Thames aboard waterman cutters are just part of its story spanning the past decade.

The Deptford charity's jam-packed schedule of corporate events - from team days out to its 8.5-mile Meridian Pull and Channel Rowing Challenge between Dover and France - have rapidly become its "lifeblood", according to Rachel Hedley, events and marketing manager.

Already attracting strong support from E14 firms, cash raised is pumped back into providing watersports opportunities for local disadvantaged and at-risk youths.

So during Wednesday volunteer days, expect to see Wharfers varnishing cutters, sprucing up communal areas and painting buildings before heading out alongside the youngsters for some fun on the water.

Rachel said: "It means the companies see what the charity does and understand it and that's a really nice way of those people being linked to the centre. For us its bringing in money but nurturing a relationship is equally as important.

"We recently had a team from HSBC where one of them did the Channel Rowing Challenge last year so brought his team to do a volunteer day - that's a fantastic way of someone showing support."

But fundraising need not be quite so arduous. Rachel said only two hours of intense training was needed before crews were ready for the Westminster to Greenwich Meridian Pull. Teams pay £1,200 per boat to take part in contrast to the £12,000 for a seven-man cutter on the channel excursion.

Rachel said: "It's a combination of people having a sense of satisfaction from having completed a challenge to doing something different to their working life.

"Often people say to us they feel indebted. Coming here they can see exactly what's going on because we are such a small charity.

"They see the money is going to support people in their own community who are not as advantaged as then. You can't ignore the benefit of what the centre gives people."

Go to ahoy.org.uk

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