The Market Lane Restaurant Group has extended its support for Meitheal Mara, the unique Cork charity which uses boatbuilding, woodcraft and seamanship to help dsadvantaged youth groups and individuals to learn, progress and develop. This year the Group is supporting the Meitheal Mara Rowing Summer Camp which takes place on the River Lee’s waterways in and around Cork city from the 6 – 9 August 2019. The support follows the Group’s commitment to Meitheal Mara initiatives over the past 2years.
The Market Lane Restaurant Group consists of Market Lane, Elbow Lane and ORSO restaurants and the Blackrock Castle Café. The summer camp, which is part of Meitheal Mara’s Bádóireacht youth programme will see 23 young people take to the water for four days to develop and hone their currach rowing skills. More than half of the participants currently live in direct provision accommodation centres.
The ethos of the Bádóireacht youth programme is to enable young people to take part in water activities, in particular, those who would not otherwise have the opportunity. Participants come from organisations such as Foróige’s Big Brother Big Sister programme, Mayfield Neighbourhood Youth Programme and Cork Life Centre.
Conrad Howard, head of the Market Lane Restaurant Group adds “As a city-centre group of restaurants, we are privileged to support Meitheal Mara’s outstanding work which provides participants with unique and long-lasting personal development opportunities. Last year we helped with the building of one of their traditional boats and this year we share the pleasure of seeing young people take to the water and embrace an exciting skills programme that can be life-changing.”
Clare Hayden, Manager of the Bádóireacht Youth Programme, says: “The young people that come to our rowing programmes are from very diverse backgrounds. By coming together as a crew in a currach they learn how to work together and to communicate with each other to keep their boat on course. There is huge satisfaction and self-confidence to be gained in safely steering a boat through the channels of the city. The conditions are not been perfect this year, particularly with the wind, so while it has been a challenge for our participants, it is also great fun.”
The camp is a chance for young rowers to gain more rowing experience and to try out different styles of currach. They will also experience the various aspects of currach rowing: from leisurely picnic rows to frenetic races. Activities during the camp will include an excursion on the Glashaboy River, a treasure hunt, trips through the city centre which will culminate in a regatta on the last day of the camp. There will be as many as 9 boats with 11 volunteers helping the group.
In 2018 the Bádóireacht youth programme won a European Sports Inclusion Award from European Commission for its work in getting disadvantaged and marginalised young people active and on the water. Clare Hayden says: “For us, in Meitheal Mara it is very important that all of our young rowers have an equal opportunity to take part in activities such as the Summer Rowing Camp. This year, with the support of the Market Lane Group, we can ensure that we are able to provide transport, lunches and wet weather gear for all our participants. This leaves the young people free to focus on enjoying their rowing.”
The camp will culminate in a regatta on Friday 9th of August. Families and supporters will join in to cheer on the young crews and see the skills they have developed. With continued rowing practice in the coming months, it is hoped that these parents will be cheering on their offspring in the long-distance Cork Ocean to City Race in June 2020.
The Bádóireacht programme and rowing camp are organised by Meitheal Mara. Bádóireacht is a unique boat building and rowing service for young people (ages 12 – 18). It has been running successfully since 2002 with an average of 130 individuals participating each year. For more information please see www.meithealmara.ie.