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The Sea Cadets' on the water programme expands horizons for disadvantaged children in London, Birmingham and on Merseyside

SEA Cadets is providing some 1,200 children with the chance of experiencing the thrill of water based adventures, learn valuable life skills and earn qualifications this summer after launching it's:- 'On The Water programme' that will run until 29 August 2021. The charity's programme will give young people aged:- 9 to 14 the opportunity to try out:- sailing, paddle sports and much more, free of charge. Qualified instructors will deliver sessions on a wide range of water sports. This year, the programme is bigger than ever before and it's being held across 3 locations:- Royal Docks (London), Crosby (Merseyside) and the Edgbaston Reservoir (Birmingham).

On The Water Coordinator, Hugo Dell explained:- "Children from disadvantaged backgrounds tend to have limited access to leisure activities while Covid19 and the prolonged lockdown has brought new challenges for them. We hope this project will boost young people's spirits and give them a chance to exercise, have fun and provide them with long term benefits too."

1st held in 2019, in London, Sea Cadets was unable to run the programme last summer due to the Pandemic. By extending the programme to include:- Merseyside and the West Midlands, the youth charity aims to broaden horizons for many more children in hard to reach communities. Following that event a young participant who took part in the 2019 programme told the press that:- "Last week I came to the Royal docks to try out the boats. They were amazing! Eric was a fabulous teacher, I'd never done water sports before. Thank you Sea Cadets!" His statment was backed up by a Mother of another 1 of the participants, saying:- "My son has never done anything like this before and he enjoyed it so much, his confidence has noticeably improved. It has brought out a side of him we haven't seen before and it's a joy to see. When my child started the programme he was hesitant to try new things. He was scared of sailing and terrified of capsizing." Another Mum also added:- "By the end of the programme he had fallen in love with kayaking and sailing. He is very proud of his paddle sports certificate and has now joined Sea Cadets."

To find out more about On The Water, visit:- Sea-Cadets.Org/On-The-Water-Club.

₤338m package to further fuel active travel boom

THE active travel boom seen throughout the Pandemic will continue to thrive thanks to a ₤338m package to boost cycling and walking across the country, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Friday, 30 July 2021. Infrastructure upgrades, changes to The Highway Code and new requirements to ensure that active travel schemes' effects are properly assessed are among the raft of measures included in the Summer of Cycling and Walking document published today. It comes after last year saw cycling rise more than in the previous 20 years put together, with the number of miles cycled on British roads rocketing by 45.7% to 5bn. Independent opinion polling and new research also published by the DfT shows that active travel schemes are supported, on average, by a ratio of 2 to 1. As the UK prepares to host COP26 later this year, these initiatives will play a key role in the Government's drive to build back greener from the Pandemic and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:- "Millions of us have found over the past year how cycling and walking are great ways to stay fit, ease congestion on the roads and do your bit for the environment. As we build back greener from the Pandemic, we're determined to keep that trend going by making active travel easier and safer for everyone. This ₤338m package marks the start of what promises to be a great summer of cycling and walking, enabling more people to make those sustainable travel choices that make our air cleaner and cities greener."

This announcement builds on the Prime Minister's ₤2bn Gear Change cycling and walking programme which was announced exactly one year ago. The ₤338m is a 30% increase to the ₤257m announced for active travel in last year's spending review. This funding will help see the construction of hundreds of miles of new high quality cycle lanes and aid the delivery of new schemes to encourage walking. This will include the delivery of improvements across the National Cycle Network. And to enhance safety for cyclists and pedestrians, a new version of The Highway Code will be published in the autumn, with updates including:-

A hierarchy of road users that ensures road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others.

Strengthened pedestrian priority on pavements and when crossing or waiting to cross the road.

Guidance on safe passing distances and speeds and ensuring that cyclists have priority at junctions, when travelling straight ahead.

Sir Dave Brailsford, INEOS Grenadiers Team Principal said:- "Cycling has had a real boost during the Pandemic as people of all ages have recognised its many benefits and it is a real positive that the Government are making cycling such a transport priority for the future. Getting on your bike is great for your health and it's also great for the environment so there has never been a better time to get pedalling."

As well as improving safety for cyclists, the Government is also aiming to make cycling easier and more accessible through a new scheme aiming to increase awareness of e-cycles and tackle barriers to their use. An e-cycle support programme will be launched later this year and comes after the Government has already provided funding to help nine local authorities deliver e-cycle initiatives. Other key measures included in the Summer of Cycling and Walking include plans to publish a new road safety strategic framework and commitments to help train hundreds of new Bikeability instructors and explore how historic railway structures can be converted into cycle routes. The Government has also announced today that the new Active Travel England (ATE) commissioning body, which will hold the national cycling and walking budget, will begin work later this year.

Xavier Brice, Sustrans Chief Executive, said:- "This funding will bring major improvements to the National Cycle Network in England by linking communities together and enhancing valued and well-used cycling and walking routes. Most importantly of all, this vital boost will further enable those who want to cycle or walk to do so. The Pandemic has highlighted the huge benefits of active forms of travel to people's personal health and wellbeing, to local communities and to the environment. We've seen a marked increase in numbers using the cycle network and this commitment to funding underlines its importance. We welcome the Government's continued focus on cycling and walking. The time is right to ensure we're able to carry on working with our volunteers and other organisations in our role as a proud custodian of the network, to create and offer a safe, accessible and traffic free travel environment for everyone's benefit."

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