Pictured at the launch in Waterways Ireland.
Pictured at the launch in Waterways Ireland HQ, from left, Nadine McCormilla, Sport Coordinator with Cavan Sports Partnership, Sharon Lavin, Head of Marketing & Communications with Waterways Ireland, John Boyle, Director of Business Development with Waterways Ireland, Kate McGrath, Visitor Experience Manager at Crom Estate, Paul Harrington, Club and Workforce Officer for Canoe Association of Northern Ireland & Erne Paddlers, Damien McWeeney, Waterways Ireland, Declan Boyle, Sport Coordinator with Leitrim Sports Partnership.
Waterways Ireland has launched the 2018 Paddles–up Programme with partners in Leitrim Sports Partnership, Cavan Sports Partnership and the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland (CANI).
The 'Paddles Up' Programme began as a joint initiative in 2015 between Waterways Ireland, Sport Ireland, Canoeing Ireland and Local Sports Partnerships. The 6 week Paddles-Up programme provides students with water activity skills in a fun way, building confidence, capacity and enabling them to earn a qualification. In 2018 the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland have joined the partnership increasing participation by 50%.
Damien McWeeney from Waterways Ireland has said, “Over 200 students from schools in Leitrim, Cavan and Dublin participated in the 6 week Paddles-Up programme in 2017. We were delighted to have this programme as one of the 160 events in out 2018 Event Programme and to see it expand into Northern Ireland, building communities of people with life-long love of our inland waterways and the skills to stay engaged in the sport.”
The 2017 programme participants earned their Canoeing Ireland Level 1 & 2 skills certification and paddled the amazing Shannon-Erne Blueway as part of achieving their goal. Many have gone onto participate in further skills development and joined a club.
Declan Boyle from the Leitrim Sports Partnership said, "4 years ago we were delighted to pilot the Paddles Up programme with Waterways Ireland, Sport Ireland and Canoeing Ireland. It is great to now see the programme expanding into the counties of Cavan, Longford, Fermanagh, Kildare and Dublin. A programme developed and formed in Leitrim is being rolled out across the country, with the overall aim of developing a culture of fun physical activity for our young people on the inland waterways on the island of Ireland.
"Leitrim is once again thrilled to be part of the Paddles Up programme in 2018, and we are delighted to see young people from across the county getting active and participating in physical activity in the form of kayaking but most of all having fun on the inland waters of Leitrim."