London Youth Rowing has further expanded its flagship Active Row programme by launching a new inner city London rowing programme, Active Row Islington.

Active Row Islington will provide over 50 Concept 2 rowing machines to schools in the area, with funding also supporting with the allocation of an Active Row coach to oversee the project and set up indoor rowing clubs in each of the schools, as they take part in extracurricular indoor rowing clubs. 

Students will then also be given the opportunity to get out on the water at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to take the skills they have learnt in the indoor rowing club to on water training. 

A London Youth Rowing (LYR) Open Club has been set up on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to give Islington students the opportunity to train and compete in rowing and through a new partnership with British Canoeing and Sport England, the chance to train and race at every level from fun to performance pathway. 

Participating schools include Arts & Media School Islington, Beacon High (Islington Futures), Central Foundation Boys, EGA (Islington Futures), Highbury Fields School, St Aloysius' College, City of London Academy HG, City of London Academy HH, City of London Academy Islington, St Mary Magdalene Academy, Samuel Rhodes School, The Courtyard and New River College.
Matt Rostron, chief executive of London Youth Rowing, said: “We believe this is the first partnership of this type and funded in this way, anywhere, and we are incredibly excited to get going. This increased activity through the relationship with Islington Council, HRRCT, British Canoeing and Sport England will really kick start the opportunities and delivery form the new LYR Water Sports Pontoon on the QEOP.

"The growing partnerships between key stakeholders and LYR are demonstrating the commitment to opening up the sport of rowing to young people across the country to boost the diversity of young people taking part in the sport."

Cllr Michelline Safi Ngongo, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families, added: "We are determined to provide our children and young people with everything they need for the best possible start in life. We all know how important physical activity is for our wellbeing, so I am delighted that this project will allow young people to develop healthy habits and enjoy themselves in a safe environment, with new equipment and expert tuition from London Youth Rowing."

As with all of LYR’s programmes, Active Row Islington will both indoor and on-water rowing, with a firm focus on improving equality, inclusivity and diversity. Of the 11-18-year-olds introduced to rowing by LYR in 2021-22, 57 per cent were from ethnic minority backgrounds, 41 per cent were female and 15 per cent were SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) participants.

Active Row Islington was developed following conversations between LYR and the local authority education group with an idea of developing a borough-wide project for all the state secondary schools in Islington including AP (Alternative Provision) and SEND units. This led to engagement with each of the schools, leading to the production of a plan that looped in the current Active Row London programme and encouraged all of the schools to take part.

LYR’s Active Row programme is expanding across the country, now being delivered in Yorkshire, Kent, Nottingham and London.