15th May 2017

London Youth Rowing begins new mission to tackle inactivity in teenage girls

2017.05.17_sir green school

  • Building on Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, London Youth Rowing aim to get more girls across London moving this summer with ‘LYR Girls – Let’s Get Active’
  • The new Pilot Scheme, launching on 15 May 2017, will be part of the LYR Active Schools Programme from September 2017
  • London Youth Rowing has helped over 2,700 Sport England funded young people get active through rowing or indoor rowing over the last year

The aim of the Charity’s Pilot Scheme is to give less active girls a positive and engaging experience of physical activity, and change behaviours and attitudes with the help of a supportive coaching team at London Youth Rowing.

Dame Katherine Grainger, London Youth Rowing Trustee and Olympic Gold medallist, said:

“It is an exciting project that encourages teenage girls across London to get active through indoor rowing. London Youth Rowing has a brilliant track record in reaching diverse communities and this is another opportunity to change more lives forever.

“I know that our sport offers something unique and different to more mainstream sports. This project offers these girls something new as it focusses on creating new indoor rowing clubs led by young girls as they enjoy becoming physical active, meeting new people and setting new challenges.”

London Youth Rowing (LYR) has launched the Pilot Scheme with eight Secondary Schools, ranging from Hounslow in the West to Redbridge in the North East. During the eight week course, girls will cover a range of topics and skills including goal setting, physical challenges, eating and shopping habits and leadership development. We will work with schools who are currently part of the Sport England funded ‘Satellite Hubs and Clubs’ programme.

London Youth Rowing believe this is the right time to build on the momentum of more teenage girls getting involved in rowing – of the 260 relay teams that competed in LYR’s annual National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (March 2017), over 56% were in fact girls’ teams.

The sessions will be led by LYR Community Coaches who have vast experience of working with less active young people. You will be able to follow their progress through the LYR Instagram account ‘londonyouthrowing’ where participants will also be getting involved.

London Youth Rowing believe that indoor rowing is a great year-round activity and often a popular choice for teenagers who do not enjoy other traditional sports. Both indoor rowing and rowing foster determination, commitment, and teamwork to achieve personal and team challenges.

23rd March 2017

NJIRC 2017, that’s a wrap!

This year’s National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC) attracted a record 2304 entrants and showcased an incredible ‘Festival of Sport’, making it the World’s biggest indoor rowing championships yet again.

Each year gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded in each category, while fastest overall boy and fastest overall girl are also celebrated.

The Andy DeQuidt Memorial Trophies are awarded in memory of a former London Youth Rowing Coach who passed away under tragic circumstances.

This year Phoebe Muir (year 10), from Exeter Rowing Club and Jake Offiler (year 12), from Globe Rowing Club took home the trophies for fastest times of the day.

NJIRC 2017 was Phoebe’s first indoor rowing competition, despite having started rowing over two years ago. She said she was nervous to compete having built up the idea of racing in her head.

‘My Exeter teammate who was also there competing for year 9 boys persuaded me to race. Then, when I got there I couldn’t believe how big it was,’ Phoebe said. ‘But it was such a good atmosphere. It was buzzing and so energetic.’

Jake on-the-other-hand has competed at NJIRC three times and won his category two years ago as well.

‘I think NJIRC is a competition that people feel really proud to compete in,’Jake said. ‘It’s a great way for kids to get into the sport. I even overheard some boys talking about how they wanted to start rowing more after competing that day!’

It is LYR’s hope that all our NJIRC competitors continue to pursue and enjoy rowing. Thank you to all partners, supporters and volunteers. And, congratulations to everyone who raced, all medal winners and Phoebe and Jake on fantastic performances.

3rd March 2017

3 weeks to go!

Katie Bartlett raced at the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC) nearly 10 years ago, and has gone of to row for Great Britain seven times and counting. She told LYR how NJIRC helped shape her future rowing career.

Katie started rowing at the age of 13 after being scouted by British Rowing’s, World Class Start programme. She was a national level junior swimmer before she took to the water at Nottingham Rowing Club.

She soon found that she was as fast on the water as she was in it, and began pulling in medals at local and national events.

In 2008 and 2009, she got silver medals in the individual event and won the relay races with her team, at the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC).

NJIRC was just two years old and hosted in Battersea Park, not yet big enough to bring Lee Valley Athletics Centre to capacity.

The prizes for winning the relays however, were still the same, and she got to ride in the launches that followed The Boat Race in consecutive years.

(Katie third from the left)

She’d officially caught the ‘rowing bug’ and began taking her training more seriously, with the intention of representing her country at junior level.

Her list of accomplishments is impressive. Representing Great Britain, Katie has won two silvers and one bronze medal at the Coupe de la Jeunesse regatta, raced at the Junior World Rowing Championships and won a silver and a bronze medal in two separate Under 23 World Rowing Championships.

‘NJIRC gave me the first real taste of what proper racing was all about. It was nerve-wracking and loud and exhausting,’ Katie said. ‘But the rush you get when you stand on the podium, and the fun I got out of rowing when I was young made the tough races worth it.’

Katie graduated with a degree in Sport Science from Loughborough University and shortly after, moved closer to London to row at Molesey Boat Club where she continues to train and race while working part time. But, it wasn’t all smooth sailing post-university life. For the first time she truly began to question whether she wanted to retire from her beloved sport and start to focus on her career.

Katie said: ‘I’m shorter than a lot of my rowing teammates, so I wasn’t sure whether I was going to keep up with the seniors like I’d been doing at U23 level. And, thinking about moving away from my family in Nottingham was difficult. It was the first time I’d ever thought about quitting.’ 

But, she maintains that rowing has taught her to keep going when things get tough, so it didn’t take her long to figure out that a life without her sport looked much less inviting! She also asserts that continuing to row makes her much more employable, having learned important skills surrounding communication, patience and teamwork. And, her current employers at a local beverage company are totally supportive of her training and racing schedule.

Katie doesn’t know what the future holds for her rowing career right now, only that she’s enjoying training and racing locally for her new rowing club. But, she does have great vision for what she hopes the future of the sport could look like.

‘I’m not really tuned in to what’s happening too much at grassroots level, but there’s still very little ethnic diversity amongst elite rowing. There’s no role models to encourage kids of all ability and background to get rowing, and it’s disappointing because we’re missing out on such a big pool of people.’

‘London Youth Rowing is doing a great job of trying to make the sport inclusive across the board and NJIRC gave me an insight into what the rowing world could look like… Best of luck to all those racing next year, and maybe one day I’ll see you on the start line!’

20th  February

4 Weeks to Go!

There is less than a month to go before the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships 2017, and our Special Educational Needs schools are counting down the days. On February 7th 2017, Conisborough College invited Charlton Park Academy to their Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) rowing event in preparation.


16 students, of varying levels of learning disability, each raced over 2 minutes on rowing machines in preparation for the National Junior Rowing Championships (NJIRC) 2017.

They first raced to set themselves a baseline score, with the intention of having another go after some technical coaching and a short rest. There were some huge improvements in the second round; as much as 30 meters for some students.

The top boys score of the day was 512m from a Charlton Park student, and the top girls score was 405m from a Conisborough College student.

Finally, in true NJIRC style, the relays were the main event. The students were randomly assigned a team, combining both schools together, allowing the students to mix and socialise with each other. They raced over 2000m with the winning team taking the title by less than one second.

Gordan Stead, teacher and rowing lead at Charlton Park Academy said, ‘The social interaction between the kids was a delight to behold and would have made the event worthwhile in its own right. We had a great day at a very well organized event with competition, learning and fun really well balanced throughout.’

‘We have also made a good link with Conisborough College so not only are we looking forward to seeing them at NJIRC we also intend to organise further fixtures and participate in joint activities. Thanks to all at LYR who made this possible.’

20th February 2017

What’s the point of LYR?

Out of the 80 schools within which LYR run indoor rowing clubs, very few are pupil led. But, this is ultimately the goal.

The point of our school indoor rowing programme – funded by Sport England – is to introduce rowing into schools, then give them the tools to make rowing a mainstream sport and a self-sustaining club. Often, when students get the ‘rowing bug’, this is when clubs really take off…


Students at the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School have fully embraced the rowing lifestyle and taken on the challenge. Two enthusiastic Sixth Formers, Laurence and Milo lead their club. Both took up rowing three years ago and now row competitively, with Laurence having recently attended Great Britain under 18 trials, for a chance to compete for his country.

It is from this training that they have managed to develop a rowing program for all 25 participants that attend the school club, many of which had never really taken part in any sport before.

Laurence said, “I really enjoy taking the sessions and giving something back by passing on my rowing knowledge to develop each of them. It’s really rewarding seeing how much they have all progressed”. 

This was echoed by fellow pupil, Jake who has just completed a 5km test during rowing club; “It helps knowing that they’re both really good at rowing considering they were in a similar position to me three years ago and just starting out”. 

Not only has the school bought their own rowing machines, to compliment the ones LYR loan them, but the student coaches are also working towards getting their school officially affiliated with rowing’s national governing body, British Rowing. This means they can move their club onto the water and race in boats.

All 25 students who attend the indoor club will attend the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC) on 17th March 2017.

20th January 2017

Hammersmith Academy welcomes back indoor rowing!

On Wednesday 11th January, LYR coaches Dan and Tom headed to Hammersmith Academy to officially kick start the schools indoor rowing club.

Students at Hammersmith already take part in on-water rowing, so are using the LYR club to combine their outdoor and indoor rowing programmes.

This week’s indoor session focused on technique tips and fitness testing in preparation for an upcoming indoor borough competition and the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships.

With some good overall scores, Hammersmith hope they can improve their times over the next couple of months to show up as tough competitors at each event.

PE Teacher, Beth Cutting commented during the session: ‘The boys really enjoyed it, and I’m personally really excited about this club developing with LYR.’

Here’s to; fast times and many more indoor rowing clubs to come!


17th January 2017

Cardinal Vaughan ‘Rowathlon’

Before Christmas, over 150 students from Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School took part in a two day indoor rowing extravaganza. The students represented their four houses: Fisher, Campion, Mayne and More.

In the run up to the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships in March, a lot of our schools are prepping with mini competitions to test their speed and select their teams.


The boys in year 10 got the ball rolling with fierce individual racing between students over 16 rowing machines. After 5 heats were completed the main event – the relays – began. The students where seeded into four teams of four, per house. “Fisher A” came in ahead after a close fought battle between “Campion A” and “More A” in 2nd and 3rd respectively.


“It was an amazing competition” – De La Ray Terblanche, Head of P.E.

The next day it was the turn of year 11 to compete against each other. After 6 individual heats, the team relays began in earnest with “Fisher A” again taking a convincing lead, with “Mayne A”and “Maybe B” taking 2nd and 3rd. 

13th December 2016

Paralympic Champion hosts School Indoor Rowing Challenge finale at Mossbourne Community Academy.  

On 14 December, Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney, will host London Youth Rowing’s fourth and final Schools Indoor Rowing Challenge for 2016.

Following competitions in West, East and South London, the North London competition boasts 160 entries from seven schools. There are both individual and relay races, accommodating all students between years 8-11 including SEND races.

London Youth Rowing (LYR) is a non-profit charity focused on introducing young people to rowing, and developing their future prospects through the power of sport.

Oliver James is Head Rowing Coach at Mossbourne Community Academy and 2016 Paralympic Champion. Ollie won a gold medal in the LTA Mixed Coxed Four this year in Rio. Having since retired he sought a career where he could continue to make an impact in the rowing community.

‘It’s great to move on from being an international athlete into working with LYR. I get to spend every day giving more and more young people the opportunity to experience the sport that I love so much. Using rowing as a platform for kids to learn the skills they need, they’re able to take advantage of any opportunities they may get in the future to follow their own dreams’, James said.

LYR has a working relationship with two London based Secondary Academies; Mossbourne and Brampton Manor Academy. Coaches run a high level rowing performance programme  similar to that in elite private schools, and therefore challenges the traditional rowing stereotype. Students enrolled in the school rowing programme are encouraged to compete at National and International level.

LYR provide full-time coaching staff and equipment for all indoor and water based rowing. Coaches are fully submersed in school life, teaching rowing in PE classes as part of the standard curriculum for all age groups. Mossbourne Community Academy was the first academy on the programme, having now worked with LYR for five years. The latest addition, Brampton Manor Academy, in Newham, is in it’s second year.

The secondary schools registered for SIR Challenge North are: Mossbourne Community Academy, City Academy Hackney, Haverstock School Camden, Stormont House SEND School, West Lea SEND School, Lister Community School Newham and St Angela’s Ursuline School.


8th December 2016

John Roan, ‘Taster Day’ 

John Roan School, Greenwich, saw 92 Year 7 students try rowing for the first time last week.

38 girls and 54 boys rotated through the indoor rowing activity, during PE classes throughout the day. With the help of London Youth Rowing (LYR) coaches, racing equipment was set up in school halls and gyms, and expert technical coaching is delivered. ‘Taster days’ are a great way for schools to introduce rowing to as many children as possible in a short period of time, encouraging them to join their indoor rowing club.

Paul Soane, PE Teacher who runs the indoor rowing club said, “It has been a really good day; everyone who took part seemed to have enjoyed themselves. As Year 7 are split into two groups, we would like to repeat the day next term with the other half of the year.”

It sounds like enthusiasm from the students was plentiful, and interest in taking part in more rowing activity was sparked!

Daniel Garvey, Head of PE, said, “Thank you (to LYR) for coming to do the day. The children seemed to really enjoy it. It is really good to have indoor rowing at the school.”


2nd December 2016

St Angela’s school, Inter-Form Competition

On Wednesday 23rd November 2016, St Angela’s Ursuline School took part in their annual Inter-Form competition after school.

St Angela’s have been part of the Satellite Hubs and Clubs (SHaC) project since 2014, where LYR run indoor rowing clubs in schools, as part of the Sport England mass participation initiative.

LYR encourage the schools to keep children enthusiastic about rowing by using techniques like competitions, fundraisers and club kit. Coach Dan, who helps sustain St Angela’s rowing club, went into school with LYR’s travelling race equipment for the day. This way, the girls get to experience what racing feels like ready for the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships in March 2017. Students will be registered to race by their school for a chance to become national champion.

With over 120 girls in attendance, the event was a huge success! Head of PE, Yvette Jarvis said, ‘the event was the most successful rowing inter-form to date in terms of participation numbers and how smoothly the event ran.’

Interestingly, the majority of the winners had been attending their weekly SHaC indoor rowing club!


19th October 2016

LYR Launch Schools Indoor Rowing Challenge 2016


London Youth Rowing received record entries for the ‘Schools Indoor Rowing (SIR) Challenge’ for secondary schools across London. After a successful pilot last year, the biggest event in the four-part series took place on Tuesday 18 October at Chobham Academy, Newham.

London Youth Rowing is a non-profit charity focused on introducing young people to rowing, and developing their future prospects through the power of sport. Created to compliment the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships, SIR Challenge is a series of four competitions taking place in North, East, South and West London. The series gives students attending LYR’s indoor rowing clubs a chance to compete against other schools for the first time.

SIR Challenge East at Chobham Academy, received a total of 12 school entries from the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham, Redbridge, Hackney and Dagenham. The first races got underway at 1pm, with individual and relays for each year group from Year 8 to Year 13.

Secondary schools registered were: Stepney Green, Brampton Manor, St. Angela’s Ursuline, Kingsford, Little Ilford, Chobham Academy, Palmer Catholic Academy, Langdon Park and Townley Grammar. Three special educational needs schools also took part; Stormont House, Trinity SEN and JFK School.

Over 85 Indoor Rowing Clubs based at secondary schools in London are part of the Sport England and National Lottery funded ‘Satellite Hubs and Clubs’ (SHaC) Programme. The funding enables a team of 7 Community Coaches at London Youth Rowing to work closely with schools and community rowing clubs to engage over 2,000 young people each year.

Andrew Liney, Senior Manager Satellite Clubs at Sport England said:

“The Satellite Hubs and Clubs Programme reaches out to young people across London who might think that rowing isn’t for them. The Schools Indoor Rowing Challenge is a great opportunity for young people who have been introduced to rowing to take part in some friendly challenges and competition and encourage them to keep rowing in the future.”

One student from Chobham Academy who started rowing at his Sport England indoor club said, “I competed at rowing for the first time last year. I never thought I’d try rowing, because it looks like hard work, but London Youth Rowing coaches make it fun every week and I can’t wait to start rowing on the water soon.”

On the same day as SIR Challenge East, Great Britain’s Olympians and Paralympians celebrated their incredible achievements at Rio 2016 in the GB Heroes Parade in Trafalgar Square.

Events like SIR Challenge are a great opportunity to inspire and identify the next generation of rowing stars. With the support of Sport England, London Youth Rowing can continue to engage thousands of young people in physical activity, many from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Charity Number: 1122941
Company Number: 06243293