UKSA, based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight has announced British yachtswoman Dee Caffari MBE as its Youth and Mental Health Ambassador in a newly created role.
Following the charity and world-leading maritime training provider’s first public appeal for support to improve mental health in youngsters in December, Dee’s appointment will seek to raise awareness and find solutions to help young people whose mental health has been affected by falling below the poverty line, having less time outdoors, school closures and reduced employment prospects.
As the first woman to have sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions and the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world three times, Dee has faced an abundance of mental health challenges throughout her career and wants to use her resilience to help inspire UKSA’s youngsters.
Dee Caffari said of the announcement: “The last two years have been challenging for everyone. Uncertainty, financial concerns and less group activity have all taken a toll on mental health. Resilience is built up over time as a result of life experiences. Although with the pandemic we were all in the same storm, we weren’t all in the same boat facing that storm and it has been particularly difficult for the younger generation.
“I hope that by supporting the UKSA in this role as Youth and Mental Health Ambassador, I will be able to facilitate confidence in our young people to ensure our future generations can thrive. Being out in the elements facing the forces of mother nature, you soon realise that everyone is equal. She doesn’t care about your gender, race, religion or socio-economic background. Agile thinking, adaptability, teamwork and collaboration are all required, and these are all skills that are transferable into everyday life.”
UKSA offers young people of all abilities activities where they can learn skills for life in an aspirational and safe environment. Its bespoke programmes are designed to build confidence and encourage teamwork using watersports and the great outdoors as a catalyst for positive outcomes. It also offers its Sea.Change Foundation Programme which is specifically for 14-18 year olds and gives teenagers the opportunity to learn about training and careers in the maritime sector through a five-day residential trip in the school holidays. Youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds are also offered the opportunity to build crucial life skills and make new friends through the programme.
Ben Willows, CEO of UKSA said of the announcement: “UKSA has had a partnership with Dee for many years but as we further our cause to make a difference to young people and provide opportunities many are not offered, having Dee in this role will be invaluable, particularly as a former teacher. Now, more than ever, programmes like the ones on offer at UKSA which help youngsters with life skills and prepare them for the workplace are vital. Our Sea.Change programme alone hopes to reach 500 young people every year but our ultimate aim is to realise our goal of making an impact on the lives of over 13,000 youngsters.”
Dee’s appointment with UKSA adds to an exciting 2022 as she takes part in this year’s Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race alongside Olympic sailor Shirley Robertson, in a brand new partnership aboard their RockIT vessel.
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