Blow for charity as sailing days contract ends

Taking to the water at Lower Rivington Reservoir, where Lancashire Outdoor Activities Initiative hosts a range of water-based activities
Taking to the water at Lower Rivington Reservoir, where Lancashire Outdoor Activities Initiative hosts a range of water-based activities

A charity holding free sailing days has suffered a blow after a council contract was not renewed.

Lancashire Outdoor Activities Initiative, based at the Anderton Centre in Rivington, loaned several dingies and a small power boat in a contract with Lancashire County Council.

In return, it provided free sailing days for young people from Chorley and South Ribble.

But last week they were told the contract would not be renewed and the equipment should be returned.

Trustees of the charity are now asking why it has not been renewed.

Keith Gillies, chairman of trustees, said: “We can’t understand why they are doing this. We understand there are finacial pressures but I would have thought the last thing they would want to do is take resources away from voluntary groups who can perhaps keep providing services for young people in Lancashire.”

County Coun Mark Perks, a trustee, said they were “gobsmacked” to be told the council wanted the boats back.

He said: “We can still deliver our residentials and our canoeing, but without these dingies it means we can’t use them to provide the free sessions for young people who don’t get the chance to do outdoor sailing activities.

“The young people are going to suffer, the charity will suffer.”

County Coun Perks said he had written to the council’s chief executive to ask her to reconsider the decision.

Ajay Sethi, head of traded services at the county council, said: “We are talking to the Anderton Centre and the Sailing Association to see how events can be supported and how we can use our resources most effectively.”