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A successful voyage for homeless young people

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Last week, 10 young people from Amber went on the trip of a lifetime with Ocean Youth Trust (OYT) South. The Amber Foundation supports around 270 homeless and out of work young people each year, providing them with a temporary, safe place to live at one of our residential centres in Surrey, Wiltshire and Devon. One of the aims of the programme at Amber is to give young people the opportunity to try new experiences, and so for the first time Amber has partnered with OYT South to create this unique opportunity.

The voyage took place from the 4th – 8th June and involved a total of 20 people who sailed the 30-meter vessel, Prolific, along the south coast. OYT South are also a charity and use sailing to broaden the experience of those looking to stretch themselves through a challenging adventure. Young crew members not only sail the boat, but help to keep watch and navigate; they also learn basic life skills such as cooking and healthy eating. The trip is designed to develop confidence, team working, the ability to cope with unfamiliar situations, and tolerance and understanding of others.

The group joined on Monday and after familiarisation and safety briefings, they sailed to Gosport on the first night. The second day of the voyage took the team to Weymouth, going all the way round the south of the Isle of Wight and trying out two brand-new sails which had just been delivered to Prolific. The group then sailed on to Poole and despite the light winds, the skipper was very impressed by how motivated everyone was to keep the boat sailing rather than putting the engine on. The next day they went to Cowes, enjoying a BBQ on the beach, before finally returning to Southampton.

“My best bit was going past the Needles [on the Isle of White], past the lighthouse, that was stunning. I also enjoyed meeting so many new people and and being with so many different people on the boat and all working together.” Jay, Amber Resident.

Altogether, they sailed 160 nautical miles and at the end of the voyage, the entire group were awarded Royal Yachting Association Start Yachting certificates, a recognised qualification. And to add to this impressive feet, all but three of the people on board this trip, including the OYT South crew were under 30.

Peta Koczy, Staff Skipper with OYT South said “This was the first time we have worked with the Amber Foundation and I was enormously impressed by how motivated these young people were and how much effort they wanted to put in to making the voyage a success. Sail training is a great way for young people like these to show how much they can achieve, and I think every member of the group was able to use the voyage to demonstrate some of the skills needed by employers, families and communities. I hope this voyage plays a part in helping them move on in life, and I would be delighted if Ocean Youth Trust South can develop a long-term partnership with the Amber Foundation and offer more voyages in future.”

Asked if he would do another trip like this, Sam, one of the Amber residents, responded “Yes, absolutely. I’d do it again without a doubt”.