TYNE youth rowing



Newcastle Youth Rowing – Making a Difference to the Lives of Young People


Love Rowing funded a successful initial youth engagement programme at Tyne Amateur Rowing Club in 2023. Due to the demographics of the local area, Love Rowing have continued to support the club’s ambitions to provide rowing outreach programmes to young people in state schools, particularly in areas of multiple and significant deprivation. Love Rowing are supporting the club to sustain and grow the youth programme in 2024 through funding achieved from the Gosling Foundation and the Hargraves Foundation. 


This qualitative case study captures the experiences and impact on the young people taking part, based on surveys, facilitated questioning, observations and input from teachers and coaches on 14th May 2024. Three cohorts of young people in school years 8 and 9, across two schools took part in the case study. 


New experiences

For half of the young people it was their first on-water rowing session following participation in indoor rowing – they expressed a mixture of emotions prior to the session which fell into the two categories of excitement and nervousness


It was clearly observable that the young people who took part on the water for the first time enjoyed their experience and were looking forward to taking part again. Many expressed the experience as ‘good’, ‘nerve wrecking’, ‘enjoyable’, ‘amazing’. It was surprising that the young people were already able to identify skills they had developed particularly communication, teamwork and resilience.


“It was confusing at first to get going, but after you were on it, it was quite easy. It was nice to communicate with everyone, who you wouldn’t normally team work with, but in the end we figured it out and it was enjoyable.”

Pupil from Walbottle Academy


Developing as a person

The young people from the Walbottle Academy who had taken part in more on the water sessions through the programme, were developing in their confidence and love for rowing. When asked about their thoughts about rowing they are quoted as saying:


“It’s fun, talented. It’s like teamwork. You get strength and take part in the outside world in an activity with your friends.”


“I love rowing, because I am pretty darn good at it”


The teacher at Walbottle Academy stated the benefits as:


“It’s different from traditional sports that these young people might not like, it gets them out of school and they all enjoy it. We are not the richest school in the world so this gives the kids a new opportunity to learn something new.”


The third cohort were a group of girls from the Biddick Academy who now attend rowing regularly at the club. Their teacher, Chloe Jeffries, explains:

“Rowing is a really great opportunity for our young people, and we have mostly girls taking part. It has developed their resilience, teamwork and they have taken part in competitions -they would never have before.”


Early indications of life changing impact

The Newcastle Youth Programme led by Tyne Amateur Rowing Club is not purely about rowing. The programme targets young people on pupil premium – young people requiring support with the improvement of educational outcomes due to being disadvantaged. The aspiration is to provide opportunities for young people who would never have had the opportunity before and to provide each individual with the skills of self-discipline, leadership and teamwork.


Coach Bobby explains the impact she is observing:


“We started off with a lot of troubled kids and helped make them have less suspensions. They started out with 4 suspensions from school a week and now it’s 1 every 2 weeks. So we have made improvements in attendance.”


It was clear from our visit that even in this early stage of the programme, the young people are experiencing physical and mental well being benefits, but more specifically the development of life skills for their future. In particular, by overcoming personal differences, supporting one another, overcoming challenges and being exposed to new opportunities and situations that push them out of their comfort zone, they are developing resilience, leadership, team work, communication, focus, and concentration. The value of rowing specifically being the access to nature and the rhythm of working together to achieve a common goal. 


We look forward to monitoring the ongoing impact upon the lives of the young people participating in the programme, which we will revisit in the autumn.


Supported by The Hargreaves Foundation and The Gosling Foundation. 


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