Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


The project is to replace the current slipway and dockside which is wooden in construction, is damaged and is now becoming an issue for safety and access. Accessibility to the water is becoming more difficult, particularly for the less able. The proposed re-design will utilise recycled plastic materials, which are more durable, will last longer, provide safer and more consistent access to the water and will be more environmentally friendly than other options.

The Hengistbury Head Outdoor Education Centre offers opportunities for young people and adults across the South of England to access water sports. It is the base for organisations including the Pilgrim Bandits (a forces charity providing support to injured personnel from both the Armed and Emergency services), Pink Champagne Dragon Boat Team (A breast cancer survivors charity), Hengistbury Head Adult Sailors Club (low cost regular sailing for all over 16yrs old) and Southbourne Canoe Club. In addition, HHOEC offers services and training to a range of schools, disability groups and youth groups as well as the general public.

HHOEC has seen huge growth in use over the last few years, with increasing numbers of schools and organisations accessing HHOEC for water sports activities including kayaking, canoeing and sailing. In 2017, 75 schools used HHOEC resulting in over 9000 children visits to HHOEC. In addition, there have been over 6000 public (adult and children) visits to HHOEC. As a result, there is continuing and significant degradation to the facility. Accessibility is an ongoing issue, particularly for wheelchair users, and completion of this project will allow the opportunity to create a more inclusive service that supports the needs of those less physically able.

Access to the water, and to water sports, is an important part of encouraging participation in sports and in turn health and wellbeing. HHOEC has the equipment and capacity to support every user on the water, so improving accessibility is really important to improve the impact we can have.

The current design of the dock side and slipway is such that access is completely dependent on the tide. A new design would ensure that HHOEC can maximise access to the water at all states of tide. There is limited access particularly for wheelchair users, and issues with launching larger boats at specific times, including Dragon Boats used by the Pink Champagne Dragon Boat Team as well as many school and public groups.

The proposed improvements will allow HHOEC to open up opportunities to even more groups, and continue to encourage health and wellbeing through sport to people young and old from across the South. HHOEC provides affordable water sports, and is working with organisations, including Christchurch Action For Youth Project, a people referral unit, in deprived areas of the town. The project will allow us to continue to develop and expand this work, supporting disadvantaged young people to participate in sports that they are usually financially excluded from. Through its links with Brockenhurst College HHOEC also provides opportunities for vocational training, particularly to young disadvantaged people, given them the opportunity to develop skills and experience that will support them to develop a long-term career. Other beneficiaries of HHOEC include the Adult Sailors Club whose majority of members are over 50. This club gives affordable access to the usually expensive sport of sailing on a weekly basis to encourage regular participation. In addition, this club has raised over £35,000 in the past 4 years to purchase 10 dinghies that are available for HHOEC to use. Thousands of volunteer hours are given every year by members of the clubs that operate from HHOEC.

Funding of £20,000 from Aviva will allow the dockside and slipway to be completely refurbished; to become accessible at any tidal stage; to be safer for all and to ensure better access for the less physically able.

Hengistbury Head outdoor education centre

Moment of Pride

I am proud to be able to support people from across the south of England to engage with and access affordable water sports, encouraging a passion for sport. Particularly to be community hub to support amazing organisations such as The Pink Champagne Dragon Boat Team and the Pilgrim Bandits.

Location: Bournemouth BH6 4EN, United Kingdom