Hi all, I know a few of you would have seen this mentioned on other sites but I thought it would be a good idea to introduce it here. Heroes On The Water UK provides Kayak Angling to our wounded military, injured emergency services and members of the public who have suffered whilst carrying out a public duty. It provides therapeutic rehabilitation and aids reintegration into society Paul Fennell, an accomplished kayak angler and friend, came up with the idea a while ago, it is already quite big in the states. I'll let him explain in his own words..... The story so far is as follows. Back in 2010 Dave Morris, Martin Hurst and myself went to the US to fish the huge Jacksonville Classic Kayak Fishing Competition. During the prize giving Jim Dolan the US founder of HOW gave a fundraising presentation highlighting the charities work with wounded soldiers. As an ex-serviceman of 12 years this struck a chord but unfortunately career, mortgage and funding children through university meant that I wasn’t in a position to do anything about it until a few weeks ago. Strangely the opportunity has presented itself following a series of unfortunate incidents. Firstly I very nearly died on Christmas Day, thankfully I didn’t but it wasn’t only the Turkey being carved and it came as bit of a wakeup call. The usual “what am I doing in life” type reflections took place. Secondly was the tragic death of my mum after a long illness. The silver lining is that I am now able to be financially secure for a couple of years thanks to a small inheritance and my wife willing to become the main bread winner. To top this all off I was presented with an opportunity to take short notice redundancy. All of this has come together to present a one off chance to leave the corporate world and give my full attention to launching HOW in the UK. The result has been the signing of agreements with Jim in the US and finally the opportunity to launch my 2010 dream. Why have I written the above, just to show this is a very serious project. So what is HOW? HOW uses Kayak Angling to help in the physical and mental rehabilitation and social reintegration of our wounded heroes including military, emergency services and civilians who have suffered while carrying out a public duty. Sessions will be provided free to all participants. Why Kayak Fishing? The US has demonstrated that the unique qualities of the sport give our heroes benefits beyond paddling and fishing. Apart from the physical and mental stimulation it gives total relaxation and above all total freedom and equality on the water for the injured, up to triple amputees and post traumatic stress disorder sufferers (PTSD). As the strap line says “Freedom Captured”. Pictures paint a thousand words or in this case a video of our US counterparts in action. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcZuQXn4KSY&feature=player_embedded Where are we? I only left work on Good Friday. However, we are well down the road of setting up the charity. Obviously everything has to be done correctly to meet legal and Charity Commission requirements. We have appointed a Board of Trustees, they are: Myself Martin Hurst (Organiser of the Kayak Disability Weekend) Ed Gibson (Chairman of the SWKA, a proven and dedicated organiser) Simon Everett (Coach and Journalist) David Taylor (Our non Kayak Angling member who is an experienced Chair of Board of Academy Governors and experienced corporate level employee.) Being a Trustee is an unpaid position with serious legal obligations. I would like to thank those above who have agreed to take up a Trustee position. It is a major commitment that will eat into their personal and family time. I hope to appoint one further Trustee from the military rehabilitation community or an injured veteran. The all important Governing Document is currently being written and will be signed at our first Trustee meeting on the 13th of April. Only then will the charity officially exist, allowing bank accounts to be opened, kayak angling sessions and the all important fundraising to start. However, there are things that can happen before this. We have started a Facebook page which has already generated lots of interest and offers of help. Please "like" and "share", the more people that know about us the more opportunity the charity will have to provide support to those that need it. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/#!/HeroesOnTheWaterUk The logo has been created, website sponsor (Design Agency) has been found, we hope it will be up and running by early May. Instant Awnings have agreed to provide a HOW logo’d marquee. Kayak UK have agreed to the indefinite loan of a kayak trailer. The charity will be a low cost charity with no requirement for property or dedicated facilities however several hurdles remain and if anyone can help with the following please let me know. 1. A Transporter type van or corporate sponsor for the vans running costs would be a huge help 2. We currently have 3 borrowed kayaks (we need a total of 6) but a kayak provider or sponsor would be a major aid 3. Tackle provider/sponsor we need 6 light spinning rods and reels plus all the usual fishing paraphernalia e.g. Lines, swivels, lures etc. 4. Kayak safety equipment provider for drysuits, towlines etc (We currently have a mix of PFDs and 3 drysuits that can be borrowed) That’s the material things but there will plenty of opportunities for you to participate and help. 1. Session volunteer to assist our Heroes on the water. You will need to be an experienced kayak angler that is able to self rescue. You will also need to be cleared to work with vulnerable adults (a simple process). We will be travelling around the country so volunteers nationwide are what we need. We also intend to provide mid week sessions as well as weekend meets so shift workers welcome. 2. Have you got an item above you can temporarily loan to us, an unused 13ft ish kayak or drysuit until sponsors can be found. They will be put to great use. 3. Even with main sponsorship and any grants we can apply for fundraising will still underpin the success of HOW UK. Simply put the more we raise to quicker we can expand into multiple chapters but in the immediate short term we will have charity and van insurance, fuel and general travel expenses to cover. Can you run a fund raiser at work or locally. It doesn’t have to be hundreds just something. Provisional costings from the US indicate a £30 per day per participant cost for a group meeting but this rises to over £180 for a one to one session. We consider both to be equally valuable. We call these BOSS’s (Bums On Seat Sessions). Its an easy way to measure your donations benefit e.g. providing a half day BOSS is £15 or a full day BOSS £30. Or a full day group session is £180. We also need to build up a collection of Stillwater fisheries where the owners will be willing to allow HOW to hold a couple of meets per year. If you know a lake owner that you think would be happy for some very positive PR let me know and I will contact them using your name in vain to hopefully get access. HOW UK isn’t just for kayak anglers, although the main centre of expertise is likely to come from this side of the angling community. It is an opportunity for angling in general to provide something very positive and get behind our Heroes recovery. Please spread the word throughout angling, freshwater, sea and game, it’s an opportunity for everyone to pull together under a single great cause. Please join us on Facebook and we will be launching a HOW UK forum for supporters to share their ideas and generally get involved. I will update the forum when we are able to accept donations and pass on any developments but please contact me if you need any further information. Thank you for taking the time to read this, please support if you can.