Paddles up! Rise in participation prompts new fund

A difficult year for many sports has seen an amazing upturn in participation in paddlesports – leading to British Canoeing and its charity partner, the Canoe Foundation, announcing new funding.

Pots of up to £10,000 are now available to support projects which create better access to water for recreational users and projects that protect the paddling environment.

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic negatively impacting many sports, British Canoeing has seen membership rise by 25,000 to over 62,000 during 2020. Sales of new boats and equipment have soared, with a considerable rise being attributed to stand-up paddleboarding.


With thousands more people taking to the water, many locations around the country have been put under increasing pressure, specifically creating challenges with parking and physical access to the water.

The support fund aims to provide grants to local community organisations, clubs, parish councils and local authorities with an interest in facilitating paddlesport activity, in order to help alleviate some of the pressure that has been placed on launch sites around the UK.

Ben Seal, Places to Paddle Manager at British Canoeing, said: “It has been phenomenal seeing the rise in participation in paddlesport, during what has been a hugely challenging time for us all. Paddlesport is such a great way to stay active, to enjoy the natural world and importantly stay healthy.


“But clearly paddlers need places to access the water and so it was important for British Canoeing and the Canoe Foundation to make this funding available, to help local communities create sustainable, welcoming places to paddle.”

The Canoe Foundation is also keen to support projects that protecting and enhance the natural environment.

David Belbin, Trustee of the charity, said: “We are really pleased to be able to make this funding available to a whole range of potential recipients. We are keen to lend support to local communities for the provision of sustainable and accessible places for people to access the water.”

Grants from £500 to £10,000 will be made available, with applications being received via the online application form until February 28.