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BlueSpace Sessions and what they mean

Friday 9 June 2023 | by Brett Scillitoe

Last week the Crew from Dittons Paddle Boarding, one of our Delivery Partners, ran a series of BlueSpace Sessions for the DOST Centre Charity. They were visiting Wey Island in Surrey for a weekend away with a group of 18 young male refugees under 18 years of age. The refugees are from different trouble spots from around the world and the DOST Centre, looks after them and helps them on the path to a better life and to keep them from falling into crime and gang culture.

Paddling on the River Wey, Surrey
Paddling on the River Wey, Surrey

The AquaPaddle BlueSpace Session was to give them confidence on the water and also to teach them the dangers of water. What are safe practices and how to look after each other when out on the water. Each year too many, particularly young men drown unnecessarily in British Waterways.

DOST Centre worker
DOST Centre volunteer – Buoyancy Aids supplied by British Canoeing and Gill

There were 3 sesssions of about 40 minutes out on the River Wey. Everyone was taught about the correct safety equipment to wear and how to safely paddle a board on water. Some were nervous to start with, but their friends on the shore gave them courage with shouts encouragement.

Tranquil Paddling on the River Wey
Tranquil Paddling on the River Wey

By the end of each session, all were paddling well and most had stood-up. Their confidence had grown and they had learnt a new skill.

A few days later the note below was shared with us, to show what the work of AquaPaddle and DOST Centre means to these vulnerable young men.

Note from Refugee
Note from Young Man

Marian Spiers of the DOST Centre said “Thanks so much to Aquapaddle for running a paddleboarding session with Dost Centre for Young Refugees and Migrants. We had 18 young people from 8 different countries, aged 12- 19 years of age and for the majority of the group this was their first paddleboarding experience and many of the group cannot swim and are quite wary or afraid of water, due to their experiences of coming to the UK, so it’s so important for them to have activities like this that breaks down their fears and replaces them with positive memories.

As a very small charity, working with more than 500 young people every year and very limited funding, it means so much to be able to provide these kind of activities that we could normally never afford.

AquaPaddle is run purely on Donations. If you would like to support the AquaPaddle BlueSpace Sessions, please help if you can by giving a donation.