Cumbrian Rowing club launches open-to-all bursary scheme

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Adult learn-to-row graduates ready to race at Warrington. Photo: Karen Wagstaff

A Keswick-based sports club has created a scheme to encourage more people to take up rowing, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Lakeland Rowing Club wants to attract new members from across north and west Cumberland by making learning to row as affordable as possible.

Its John Inman Fund, named after one of the club’s founding members, aims to ensure local residents of all ages can get involved without worrying about the cost.

Lakeland chair Julia McCumiskey said: “Rowing has a reputation as an elitist sport, but that isn’t the case at all. Our members are ordinary, local people who enjoy spending time on the water amid some of the country’s loveliest scenery.

“Rowing is great low-impact, full-body exercise, whatever your fitness level. It’s also a fabulous way to de-stress. When people are under financial pressure, they need outlets like rowing more than ever, but paying to learn or for ongoing membership can feel like an unaffordable luxury.

“Our membership fees are already the lowest in the country and, as a charity, it’s important for us that those who can afford to pay full price do so. However, we want to make rowing even more accessible, to ensure it’s open to anyone who fancies giving it a try, no matter what their financial status.”

The Derwentwater club normally charges £110 for an adult weekend learn-to-row course and £40 for a junior course. Both prices include use of club equipment and facilities for the year. Membership for subsequent years is £130 for adults, £70 for students and under-18s.

Julia continued: “Anyone struggling financially can apply to the bursary fund for help to pay. There are no intrusive forms to fill in and all applications are confidential. Just drop us an email, tell us about your circumstances in a sentence or two and what you can afford to pay, and we’ll take it from there.”

Aggie was club’s first bursary recipient. She said: “Rowing was on my mind for a long time and I always wanted to try it, especially on beautiful Derwentwater, but it was a bit tricky for me to pay for the course. With the cost-of-living crisis and other unexpected expenses, I thought I’d have to put it off for another year.

“Then I found out about the bursary. I’ve met like-minded people and felt a part of the team straight away. Being a member of the club gives me a true sense of belonging to the rowing ‘family’ and I look forward to Saturday morning sessions.”

Lakeland has places available on adult learn-to-row courses, open to over-18s, on 18-19 May, 29-30 June, 27-28 July and 24-25 August. Junior courses, for Year 7 upwards, are planned for 4-5 May, 8-9 June and 20-21 July. For details of how to apply, visit

Junior learn-to-row graduates after winning at Hexham Regatta. Photo: Clive Penkett
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