Reeling in Young Anglers

Aspiring young anglers throughout South Cumbria now have a great new opportunity to take up the sport thanks to the launch of an ambitious new project involving eleven of the regions Angling Clubs.

The new project, called South Cumbria Kingfishers, runs a wide range of events, coaching sessions and competitions at numerous local fisheries. These are held at weekends and during the school holidays throughout the year and aimed at youngsters from 8 – 15 years old. Thanks to generous support and funding, totalling almost £ 20,000 from Awards for All, Leeda, Hardy Greys, EFTTA and the Environment Agency, all of these events are free.

The idea is the brainchild of Neil Birkinshaw, Association Manager for Windermere, Ambleside and District AA. Even though most of the local clubs have junior sections, Neil recognised that many potential young anglers still have a real struggle finding someone to show them how to actually get started and help them along.

This is a rural area with mostly small angling clubs who lack the resources and the numbers to set things up on their own. What we needed was a way of developing a bit more structure. We’ve solved the problem by coming up with a scheme that pools our coaches, fisheries and enthusiasm. Now any youngster who joins any one of our local angling clubs automatically becomes a member of our South Cumbria Kingfishers project. We hold coaching sessions and events right across the area and junior members of all the clubs involved can take part in as many of the coaching sessions and competitions as they like. We cover all sorts of angling from fly-fishing on rivers to coarse fishing on local tarns.

The scheme is perfect for complete beginners but also helps more experienced youngsters to develop their skills. The events and coaching sessions take place at different venues so there are plenty of opportunities for everyone.”

Neil is quick to point out that the South Cumbria Kingfishers project builds on the excellent work that is already being done by the Environment Agency in promoting angling. Jo Ratcliffe, who has organised numerous introductory angling events for the EA is equally enthusiastic about the potential for the new scheme.

“This is a great idea and now gives youngsters who have been to our ‘taster’ days a clear route to becoming fully fledged anglers. The scheme has the full support of the Environment Agency. Angling is a fantastic sport for everyone, but while the majority of participation schemes seem to focus on more populated urban areas, it is easy to forget that youngsters living in rural areas have their own set of problems in accessing the sport. In that respect the South Cumbria Kingfishers project is a unique solution and we are looking forward to seeing many more children in South Cumbria taking up angling as a result.

We are delighted that the scheme doesn’t stop at encouraging juniors; South Cumbria Kingfishers will be reaching out to schools, youth groups and other organisations – and also aims to encourage more women and more people with disabilities to become active participants.”

More information is available on the South Cumbria Kingfishers website or contact Neil directly on 015395 35630.