This is what people say about us:

The young people who sail regularly with Horizons:

“I have been sailing with Horizons Childrens sailing club since I was 8 years old. Over the past 6 years they have taught me how to sail enabled me to achieve my RYA level 4. I have a real sense of belonging at Horizons all the staff, volunteers are friendly and patient. I feel I have learnt not only to sail but to appreciate being out on the water, experiencing amazing scenery and wildlife. I have developed many skills, confidence and thanks to all at Horizons I have learnt that sailing is my thing, my passion. When I’m out on a boat I forget all my worries, I feel free. This past year, it has been tough for all, I missed my friends, my family & Horizons. When we came out of lockdown all the staff worked really hard and still do to enable us to sail in a covid secure way. I am so grateful for all they do in particular Lois and Simon. I can’t even begin to explain how it felt getting back in a dinghy after lockdown, I had said so many times to my mom and dad when we were out exercising this would be great day for a sail!“

“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.”

“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.”

 Young people who sailed with school groups:

“Thank you for such a fantastic week of sailing. I loved it! When I heard that we were going sailing I was scared but it was a great success, I loved it!”

“I never thought I would get the chance to sail… at first I was scared, and I came out confident and happy to do it again… I loved sitting on the side of the boat and getting splashed”

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

“I loved putting my hand in the water as we went fast so it splashed me… I got to see the Hoe from the other side, I’d never been out there in the water before.”

“The captains were really nice, they told us what to do and we got to steer the boat. It was nice being with my friends and not in school writing.”

“We saw a catfish and popping seaweed!”


“My two children have seen a lot less fresh air than they should since the pandemic began. City living leaves them few options when we need to stay close to home. Getting out with Horizons will re-connect them with the freedom that our local waters offer. It will remind them of the things that they can do and give them back the self-assurance that they need to help them feel that they can accomplish more than just school work.”

“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.”

“It’s not just the outdoor activity, it’s the group, and it’s such a welcoming, inclusive and friendly group. It’s a place where my daughter can learn how to sail, make friends and it’s about teamwork.”


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

“It was great to see the smiles on the children’s faces while sailing. Most of the children had only been on the Torpoint ferry at most, so this was a fantastic experience for them.”

“They went home buzzing, telling their parents all about it. The children really liked going fast and putting their hands and arms in the water.”

“New friendships were made as they spent time in a boat with children they do not usually talk to. These have carried on at school.”

“All children loved it and couldn’t wait until the next session the following day.”

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.”

One of our volunteers:

I am an experienced yachtie and became aware of Horizons a few years back whilst sailing to and from Mayflower Marina.  Seeing the constant activity and happy faces taking part always made me think about helping out and I eventually started volunteering late in the 2022 season.  Becoming a volunteer was easy peasy and my first session was as “first mate” in one of the Hawks, crewed by 4 kids.  Since then, I have also helped out on the motor launch “Friendship” and hope to gain qualifications in operating the safety boats as well as skippering the Hawks and other dinghies.  The club is well organised and includes all ages and personalities. Also, all kit is provided and you get a free brew and biscuits at the end of the session!  Initially, I was concerned that I would not be able to commit enough of my time to be of use but this concern was quickly put to rest.  Even if you can only commit to an afternoon’s sailing session every couple of weeks, then this would still be highly appreciated.   In my short stint with Horizons so far, I have managed to gain DBS Clearance and renewed my RYA First Aid at no expense to myself and there will be other opportunities to undertake further training.  I have also attended a couple of great socials and because Horizons is so well organised and flexible with scheduling, I have volunteered again for the 2023 season.  So, if you have ever considered volunteering but were put off because you felt you cannot commit enough time or are not sure about your level of knowledge, then do not let that put you off.  I have found my stint with Horizons extremely rewarding and fun and I strongly urge anyone to give it a go.

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.