• Over 1,000 different children sail with Horizons Plymouth every year.

  • We work with 10 different Primary schools and other organisations in the community.

  • We are recognised and regulated by the Royal Yachting Association.

  • We carry out all our activities at the award-winning Mayflower Marina.

This is what people say about us:

The Children:

“Before I came to Horizons I was like really angry, and now I’ve just sort of like settled down a bit.”

“… if you don’t have many friends, or you get bullied, maybe it calms you down, you just think of when you’re out in the open.”

“Even though it’s like really fun, you learn a lot as well.”

“It helps me socialise with kids of my age. I don’t really like football. I like this, and I can talk with my friends here, and it’s fun.”

Their Parents/Carers:

“With sailing you really have to watch out for safety, so you’re giving the children the awareness of watching out for another human life.”

“… she’s taken on something new in sailing, and she’s starting to gain the experience, it stands her in good stead with other things.”

“… the staff are absolutely brilliant. What they do for the children is amazing.”

Their Teachers:

“We selected our children carefully, taking into consideration their level of disadvantage, self esteem and mental health. These children absolutely loved it and they still talk about it now; they gained new skills and bravery.”

“All but one of these children achieved age expected attainment last year.”

“Children who wouldn’t have these opportunities otherwise, due to social and economic deprivation. Also to build resilience for mental health and teamwork.”

The Marina Manager:

“We have been fortunate to see first hand the great work Horizons (Plymouth) do. Some of the ‘Horizons children’ I first met in 2002 are now adults, and some are now Horizons volunteers helping today’s crop of ‘Horizons children’ to develop skills, self confidence and to have fun! To see the transformation over the years and to listen to these Horizons volunteers deliver training in a patient and nurturing way is probably the best endorsement of Horizons there is!”

The RYA Regional Development Officer:

“I have known the charity since 2007 working on several sailing programmes and initiatives during this time.
Horizons is a RYA Recognised Training Centre and are authorised to deliver a range of RYA training courses. The RYA recognition status can be taken as a quality mark of delivery and organisation. Horizons will have their RYA activities and procedures inspected on an annual basis to add value and maintain standard. Horizons are recognised to deliver adult and children’s courses.

RYA Sailability boating activity has been a significant part of the work undertaken at the charity in the past few years and Horizons is an inclusive and accessible organisation. The regular clubs which run at Horizons are good examples of inclusive boating activities.

The charity is based in one of the more challenging areas of Plymouth, with the majority of participants being drawn from the PL1 and PL2 postcodes. They provide some very valuable experiences for the local community and are involved in a range of community projects. Horizons manages the participant to volunteer instructor relationship very well and some participants will remain involved with the charity to become part of the activity delivery team. To support the volunteer team, Horizons has a small core of highly qualified employed professional staff. These staff hold a range of high level RYA qualifications and appointments.”

Someone who started as a youngster with Horizons and is now a valued Volunteer:

My story starts way back in about 2003 with an article in the Herald – Horizons was looking for young people from Devonport and the surrounding area to come and try sailing with the club. Living on the proper side of the border at the time, mum wasn’t sure if we’d be able to come along. There was also the issue of me being a, shall we say ‘less than angelic’ child. A phone call to Jon later, we were told being Cornish wasn’t a problem and I was booked in for a start sailing course that summer, along with my brother. Sibling rivalries aside, we all enjoyed it and kept coming back for more (for a few years at least)!

Horizons throughout school gave me the opportunity to unwind and de-stress in a way that nothing else really did – the ability to just get on the water and relax probably saved a few noses and a lot of school paperwork! It also taught me a lot of life skills that I wouldn’t have learnt elsewhere, ranging from some basic boat maintenance skills and problem solving, to the patience to deal with other people when they’re being morons (yeah, okay, I might still be working on that one a little…).

Fast forward a few years to mid 2009 and I’m still sailing. I’m now an Assistant Instructor and just finishing up my GCSEs. ‘Study Leave’ has naturally been interpreted as ‘more Sailing Time’, so I start helping out with the school sessions whenever I’m not doing exams. Pretty much ever since then I’ve been volunteering absolutely whenever possible – the next four years saw me only missing sessions for college, uni or being out the country.

Since leaving uni around 2013, Horizons has basically been my link to the outside world – it’s a standing joke that I hibernate over the winter when we’re not sailing. Even as a volunteer Horizons is providing the environment that I can be comfortable in and socialise with my fellow volunteers. I’ve since become a qualified Keelboat, Dinghy and Powerboat Instructor, all gained (directly or indirectly) through Horizons, allowing me to give even more back to the Charity that has done so much for me over the years.

In short, it can be difficult to say exactly what Horizons gives to the cadets we work with (beyond the sailing of course), but I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have succeeded as well as I did throughout school and uni without having Horizons (or something like it) around.