With just under a month to go until the world’s oldest and most famous sailing regatta, Dee Caffari MBE visited UKSA in Cowes this week to look ahead to Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2015 and announce a new “Unlocking Potential” Programme that will play a major role in the official charity’s fundraising plans throughout the event.
As part of the build up to a regatta that is steeped in history and dates back to 1826, UKSA, and title sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management announced that six youngsters from St Giles Trust, an organisation who work with ex-offenders and disadvantaged people will be put through a four-week “Unlocking Potential” Programme. As part of the programme the young people will act as ambassadors for UKSA during the regatta week, from 8-15th August.
Caffari, who undertook her professional instructor and crew skipper training at UKSA in 1999 and 2000, has raced at nearly every Cowes Week over the last 15 years across a wide range of different classes and was also the recipient of the coveted Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week Ladies Day Trophy in 2014. Having learnt part of her trade at UKSA, Dee is well aware how the transformational youth charity can change lives through the power of the sea.
Dee said, “It’s great to be back at UKSA, not just to look ahead to Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week itself, which promises to be one of the best yet, but also to announce the Unlocking Potential Programme that will certainly change these young people’s lives. Cowes Week is simply a very special event, there is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world so it is fantastic that these youngsters are able to look forward to it just as much as we are.”
Caffari has recently finished the Volvo Ocean Race, competing with the all-female crew of Team SCA, having previously sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions and is the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world three times. Dee, who is an inspiration for anyone interested in sailing was joined by current UKSA ambassadors that have been through their youth development programmes.
For UKSA, the opportunity to raise funds through Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and put an estimated 100 young people through “Unlocking Potential” programmes is invaluable.
Simon Davies, the Director for Youth Development at UKSA said, “Last year in our first year as official charity of Cowes Week we were able to give every year 6 pupil on the Isle of Wight a water sports experience. This year we would like to change people’s lives through our youth development programmes such as Unlocking Potential. Thanks to support from Aberdeen Asset Management we are able to kick off our work with disadvantaged youths from St Giles Trust.”
UKSA’s “Unlocking Potential” programme which features four weeks of engagement, sail training, responsibility and work experience is yielding results. 91% of participants have not re-offended and 50% of programme participants have found employment following the course. The St Giles Trust course will be measured at 3 months, 6 months and a year on following the conclusion of the programme.
Lynda Affleck, Head of Charitable Giving at Aberdeen Asset Management commented, “Here at Aberdeen, we support many charities which work on improving the lives of disadvantaged young people. We are pleased we can help UKSA continue to change lives through the power of the sea as we look forward to another fantastic Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and welcoming the young people from St Giles Trust.”
Bernie Kastner, Community Services Manager at St Giles Trust said, “Here at St Giles Trust we harness a passion for change, just like UKSA. Through this programme and association with Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week we are able to help the most disadvantaged, socially excluded individuals that often fall through the gap. We are really grateful for the opportunity and thanks to Aberdeen Asset Management and everyone involved in the event for making it happen.”
As the announcement was made Dee Caffari, who lists Cowes Week as one of her favourite weeks of the year, also looked ahead to attending the regatta herself and is looking forward to taking part in an action packed week.
Kate Johnson, Commercial & Marketing Director at Cowes Week Limited gave further insight into what to expect, “Our thanks to Dee for helping us make this announcement today. We are delighted that our reigning Ladies Day Trophy winner will be attending Cowes Week this year. We are really excited about how the week is shaping up and look forward to celebrating female participation again, on Ladies Day, this year sponsored by Liz Earle
“We are expecting some exciting racing and will be pleased to welcome a number of bigger boats taking part due to it being a Fastnet year. Along with our themed days, shore-side entertainment, and not forgetting our fireworks finale, the week is as jam-packed as ever!”
Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2015 takes place from the 8-15 August. Cowes Week 2016 takes place from the 6-13 August. For more information please visit www.aamcowesweek.co.uk and follow the regatta on social media at @Cowes_Week and #CowesWeek.