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Kintyre Seasports has set sail on its voyage towards self-sufficiency after attaining Royal Yachting Association-recognised training centre certification.
It comes just a few months after the Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation appointed highly qualified sailing and powerboat instructor Jamie Rodgers as its operations and development manager and launched a new five-metre safety vessel.
The new qualification, which allows Jamie to deliver 14 dinghy, powerboat and theory courses, means the group can now start selling training and sailing experiences, and issue internationally-recognised qualifications.
‘The recognised training centre qualification is pivotal to Kintyre Seasports,’ said Campbell Fox, the organisation’s chairman, ‘as we are now in a position to start commercialising certain aspects of the operation.
‘Currently, we are 100 per cent dependent on grants and donations but this means we can begin to reduce that dependency.
‘Whatever income we generate, a proportion of it will be going towards the various programmes that we’re running, so it will enable us to develop the resources we’ve already got to become more self-sufficient, and more able to resource community programmes.’
Currently, Kintyre Seasports runs three ‘changing lives’ projects, in partnership with Kintyre Canoe Club, Campbeltown Sailing Club and Kintyre SUP Club.
These are: a Third Sector Interface community mental health and wellbeing programme; a ‘try dive’ programme, run by British Sub-Aqua Club volunteers, in partnership with Kintyre Youth Café and Kintyre Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service; and sailing instructor training.
‘When you buy something from Kintyre Seasports, whether it’s a training course or a T-shirt, you’re putting money into existing and future community development programmes,’ said Campbell.
‘That’s what we set out to do from day one and the recognised training centre qualification provides us with a platform to achieve this.
‘We hope to build on our recognised training centre qualification to extend educational and employability courses over time.’
He added: ‘We must not forget the contribution of our volunteers in getting to this point.
‘We currently have 17 volunteer instructors, who are local people qualified to national government body standards in their respective water sports, and we’ve got another eight qualified safety boat drivers.’
As well as having a direct benefit to Kintyre Seasports’ own operations, the new training centre status is expected to reap rewards for the whole area, as British Marine Scotland estimates it will attract an additional 700 visitors to Campbeltown per year.
‘We have never had anything like this before,’ said Campbell, ‘this is a first for Campbeltown.’
Kintyre Seasports is now in discussions with potential capital grant providers.
‘It looks like the combination of the demonstrable community commitment associated with the project and the track record we’ve got is an attractive combination to capital funders,’ said Campbell.
Tomorrow (Saturday), there will be a chance to experience some of what the organisation has to offer at Campbeltown Community Regatta, held between Dalintober Beach and Campbeltown Sailing Club from 11am to 4pm.