EARLIER this month, Liverpool Watersports Centre celebrated 21 years in its current home at Queens Dock, Liverpool. The occasion was marked with a number of events for local schools including a dragon boat race and canoeing sessions. There was also an official celebration in the evening for key figures within Local Solutions as well as well as various other organisations including Liverpool City Council, Canal and River Trust and Amathus Dragon Boats.
The concept for the centre started back in 1979 when Local Solutions procured some canoes and an old narrow boat and started to offer trips along the canal to young people from disadvantaged areas of the city. The ‘Watersports Centre’ was based in a building – which had formerly been a hydraulic pumping station – on the banks of the Leeds Liverpool Canal and became very popular over the years. However, in 1994 it was decided that the centre would move to a purpose built building in Queens Dock so that a wider range of activities could be offered to the whole community.
The centre was officially launched in 1995 and has since gone from strength to strength with approximately 13,000 customers per year taking up over 20,000 hours of activity. The project aims to encourage wider participation in watersports by offering affordable activities to the whole community, particularly individuals and groups experiencing economic and social disadvantage. Some of the activities offered include canoes, kayaks, powerboating, water trampoline, open water swimming, swan pedalos, sailing and windsurfing. Service users consist of a whole variety of people ranging from a regular customer who is 86 right down to school visitors aged 8 upwards.
The centre can cater for birthday parties, family days out, stag/hen parties, school groups, youth clubs and corporate teambuilding. Facilities includE an onsite café, free Wi-Fi, free parking for customers, a meeting room with smartboard, shower/changing facilities and specialist equipment for people with disabilities.
If you would like to find out more information about Liverpool Watersports Centre go to http://www.localsolutions.org.uk/projects/watersports/ or follow on Twitter @LpoolWaterSport