McKenzie Intelligence Services recently completed our second charity event of 2023 with our ‘MISadventure on The Thames’, rowing a marathon between Shadwell Basin and Chiswick to raise funds for Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre (SBOAC). SBOAC provides opportunities for people of all ages to learn how to sail, but extends this further by providing the opportunity for young people to experience outdoor activities to build confidence and learn new skills. We asked Chief Product Officer, and Trustee of SBOAC, Rosina Smith, what makes SBOAC so important to the local community and why it’s important to her.
I moved to Wapping at the end of 2019, excited to rediscover London life after a brief hiatus living in the sticks. I was living in my one-bed flat alone when the pandemic hit. As those bleak months rolled on, I started to really struggle. Like many, I was dealing with the pandemic away from friends and family and I was still a stranger in my ‘new’ local community. During one of my many walks along The Thames, I spotted sailors – what a way to maximise the ‘outdoor activities only’ rule. I saw the same boats docked on the side of the basin, took note of the sign above and went home to email the company: Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre. Less than a week passed before I joined the club and sailed on The Thames, they taught me how to navigate this peculiar stretch of river, shared stories about the warehouse buildings lining the way and, whilst bobbing up and down under the moody London sky, discussed the ways the pandemic was affecting them.
Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre’s sailing club can often be spotted on the river, as can the kayakers and canoers, yet the true gem of the centre is harder to spot – The Youth Club. The fees from the sailing and kayaking clubs, combined with funding via donations, contribute to running the centre and its Youth Club. At a rate discounted by the centre, all children aged between 9 and 18 in the local area can learn to sail, kayak, climb, row, bike and do high ropes each week. The service provides an incredible opportunity for children from all walks of life with a range of differing needs to develop skills and confidence, it’s truly an honour to see the impact of these experiences on outlook, opportunity, and motivation.
I am currently serving my second year as a Trustee for Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre, I am determined to ensure that this centre can continue to offer the discounted Youth Club as well as maintain its building and equipment. The centre provided me with community when I needed it most, and knowing that the Youth Club does that week in week out for Children in some of the poorest areas of our city is reason enough to be inspired!
Chief Product Officer, MIS