Stubbers Adventure Centre and SYM Sailing Club clash over lake
- Credit: SYM Sailing Club
A row has broken out between a community sailing club and an Upminster adventure centre following a decision to remove the club’s provisions from the centre’s lake.
Stubbers Young Mariners Sailing Club (SYM) has been housed in Stubbers Adventure Centre since 1982 and claims it is now being asked to leave the site.
The club is managed by volunteers and owns a fleet of 35 boats, with between 40 and 60 regular members, and has helped a range of youth groups learn to sail.
Honorary secretary David Nissim said: “You can’t just pick up a sailing club and move it somewhere else.
“Local families know they can come down on a Sunday and sail, it’s a regular activity."
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The 61-year-old, who learned to sail at SYM when he retired, added: “The club has been serving the community for [more than] 35 years, providing affordable sailing for children and getting them involved.
“Now they’ve just been kicked out with no discussion, they just don’t fit anymore.”
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However, Stubbers Adventure Centre's managing director Bob Edwards told the Recorder that the club’s membership represents a very small part of the community, and he would like to offer more opportunities for families and children on the lake.
During lockdown, staff have expanded the park’s facilities to include paddle sports, archery and sailing provisions, a large adventure play park, caving system and pedalo lake.
Mr Edwards said: “We can assure the local community that our sailing fleet and professional instructors will continue to be available to schools and youth groups and individual enthusiasts.”
The adventure centre, which was established as a charity in 1996, said it will continue to facilitate National Governing Body and GCSE curriculum activities, as well as after-school canoeing and sailing clubs for children.
Bob added: “After much deliberation, the trustees of the charity decided that the aims of the charity would be better served without an independent organisation hiring the lake at weekends.
“We have been and remain open to discussions with SYM as to how their members can continue to access sailing as individuals and as part of the wider Stubbers activity programme.”
The centre plans to re-open its adventure activities on April 12.
SYM Sailing Club has set up a JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/savesymsailingclub and plans on raising a legal challenge.