MORE canoeists and kayakers from Wearside will be able to hit the water thanks to a big funding boost.
Roker Canoe Club has been awarded £12,000 from Sport England – which has mainly been spent on new boats for all their members.
Bosses say they are now “a proper club” following the cash injection, which its hoped will see a significant growth in membership.
Although the club do practise off the Sunderland coast, venues such as Hetton Lyons Country Park, which has a lake, is also used, as it is ideal for inexperienced paddlers who are looking to improve.
Secretary of the club, Mike Jenkings, said: “We are obviously very delighted with the grant.
“It is something we have been working towards for a number of years and it will have a huge positive effect.
“Before, we had no equipment of our own, and so it was very difficult to attract any newcomers.
“But that has all changed. We can now call ourselves a proper club.”
Some of the handout will also be put towards training potential new coaches.
At present, the group only have two qualified instructors, but they hope to eventually treble this number.
This will allow beginners’ sessions to be run for the first time.
As a result, Mr Jenkings is hopeful the club will start to grow in size, with a bright future now ahead.
He added: “Our aim is to introduce as many people to the sport as possible.
“We do not want to be a club that rejects new members because they do not fit a certain profile.
“In fact, anyone is welcome to join us, regardless of their age, ability or experience in a boat.
“All we want is for people to come along and have fun.”
Founded in 2011, Roker Canoe Club was set up to offer recreational opportunities for paddling enthusiasts.
Members meet at Hetton Lyons Country Park every Tuesday from 6pm to 8pm.
In addition, they also regularly go out onto rivers, including the Wear as well as the Tyne and the Tees.
Sea kayaking and surfing are also organised, as is the occasional touring trip.
For further details on the club, go to www.rokercanoeclub.weebly.com.