New Killington safety boat launched thanks to Banks Group grant

January 21, 2014 | Community News

Hundreds of sailors who use a popular lake in south Cumbria will be sailing on in safety thanks to a four-figure grant from a renewable energy firm.

As part of its operations on Killington Reservoir, the Killington Sailing Association has made a safety boat available to the hundreds of watersports enthusiasts who use the water every year, so that help can be quickly at hand should anyone get into difficulties.

The eight year-old boat had become increasingly unreliable and difficult to maintain over the last couple of years, and the potential for eventually having to take it out of service has been growing, which would severely limit the sailing options available to many of the lake users who don’t have their own safety equipment.

The Association didn’t have the resources available to purchase a replacement on their own, but now, thanks to a £5,000 grant from Banks Renewables, via its Banks Community Fund, a new safety boat has arrived at the lake.

The new boat will be able to reach any capsized boats much more quickly than the existing craft, and will also be able to accommodate more people, meaning that it can go directly from one incident to another without first needing to return to shore to drop off its passengers.

Founded more than 50 years ago, the Killington Sailing Association is a voluntary organisation that aims to encourage and facilitate sailing on Killington Reservoir, which is used by around 2,000 people every year.

It has around 110 members, a number which includes both individual sailors and the different groups that utilise the lake, which include scout groups, sea scouts and cadets, outdoor education centres, and sailing and canoe clubs.

The Association also works with a number of nearby schools to give local children a chance to give sailing a try, and provides a small fleet of dinghies to enable those that don’t have access to their own boats.

Training in the use and operation of the safety boat is provided by experienced Killington Sailing Association volunteers to groups using the reservoir, who then operate it themselves.

Killington Sailing Association treasurer Andrew King says: “We’ve been fundraising for a new safety boat for quite some time, but still had some way to go to reach our target.  Banks’ donation has come at an extremely opportune moment, and means we’ve been able to purchase the boat, so we’re hugely grateful for their support.

“The safety boat is an essential part of the work we do at Killington, especially for activities which involve young or disabled people, but the increasing problems we’ve been having in running and maintaining it has made having to take it out of service an increasingly real possibility.

“Lots of our users either don’t have or can’t afford their own safety equipment, and they would have been extremely limited in what they’d have been able to do on the water if we didn’t have this boat available for them to use, so being able to bring this new boat into service is a real relief for us all.

“Our volunteers work extremely hard to make sailing accessible to the widest possible cross-section of the community, with a particular focus on youth groups and people with disabilities, and we’re looking forward to continuing to encourage as many people as we can to take to the water themselves.”

Banks Renewables is the company behind the Armistead wind farm that has been built on land near to Old Hutton, and it is also looking to develop a new wind farm at Killington, which would be situated on land between the A684 Sedbergh Road and Junction 37 of the M6.

In addition to the Banks Community Fund, the Armistead Wind Farm Community Fund will provide up to £307,500 of community funding from the revenue of the Armistead Wind Farm over its 25-year lifespan to help make a positive, long-term difference to local voluntary groups, environmental projects and community facilities in the area.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “We were impressed by Killington Sailing Association’s commitment to widening community participation in sailing, and this is a great example of what a community-based sports organisation can achieve.

“Their new safety boat will enable them to continue their excellent work, and we hope it helps to bring many more local people to experience the wonderful sailing facilities that are on their doorstep.”

Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks’ Armistead Wind Farm that are looking for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

For more information on the Killington project please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/killington

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