Injured and amputee men and women from the armed forces and emergency services are being offered the chance to train for a formal qualification in kayaking that will enable them to teach paddle-sports to anyone interested in the increasingly popular activity.
Pilgrim Bandits, New Milton, Hants, the elite military charity that provides extraordinary expeditions for amputee service men and women in order to rebuild confidence and self-esteem, has pioneered kayaking for both veterans and injured Soldiers, adapting and purpose building kayaks to enable individuals to take part in expeditions like the 500 mile Yukon River kayak in Canada at the end of last year. The charity will be applying for funding to enhance its training programme from the LIBOR fund.
Working with the chief instructor at Skern Lodge in Devon Glyn Brackenbury, the charity has created a training schedule that will allow injured men and women to earn the British Canoeing/UKCC Level 1 and 2 certificate in paddle sports coaching as well as personal proficiency and safety awards. Glyn explains “I’ve worked with Pilgrim Bandits for several years now training some individuals with appalling battlefield injuries. Without exception I have found them determined to not only overcome but embrace their injuries in order to train effectively for some gruelling excursions. It seemed obvious to us that with this kind of approach they would make inspiring kayak coaches.”
Mike Witt CEO of Pilgrim Bandits, which funds all training, “We want to help break down society’s view that our injured aren’t employable. Whilst training with us the lads are gaining experience for future expeditions and working towards a qualification that will enable them to work in the growing leisure sector.”
Pictures: Training with Skerne Lodge in Devon (top). Training on Beaulieu River in New Forest (bottom)
Anyone wanting additional information about training with Pilgrim Bandits can visit http://pilgrimbandits.org/how-we-help/kayaking/ for additional information.