London Youth Rowing (LYR) has announced that Andrew Triggs Hodge OBE is joining the charity as the Director of Corporate Engagement.

The 42-year-old, in his new role, will focus on significant expansion of London Youth Rowing’s reach into new areas and networks to support the charity. Hodge firmly believes that sport should be made accessible to everyone and is passionate about highlighting the power of rowing and its availability.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises that sport and physical activity have a direct benefit for ‘hearts, bodies and minds’, whilst ‘physical activity reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety.’ The power of sport is unrivalled and is a vital tool for uniting communities, inspiring and education.

 As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant impact on personal wellbeing, linked to the decrease in levels of activity Public Health England’s mental health and wellbeing surveillance report highlights that that self-reported mental health and wellbeing worsened during the first national lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychological distress, anxiety and depressive symptoms peaked in 2020.

 To support with developing physical and mental wellbeing for young people, LYR has been continuing to develop indoor and on-water rowing in new and innovative ways over the past 12 months. Working with over 60 state secondary schools across London, LYR has been delivering online sessions and video coaching programmes, whilst producing a large cache of training sessions that have continued to allow over 2000 young people to remain active, develop their own goals and create new ways of interacting with the schools.

The Olympic champion, who won three rowing gold medals for Team GB across the 2008, 2012 and 2016 editions of the Games, has been involved with LYR for over 5 years, demonstrating clear commitment and passion for the charity. Most recently, Triggs Hodge has been volunteering with LYR since November, running LYR’s renowned Race The Thames fundraising event, held virtually this year, that ran for a week in March and raised over £120,000 for 40 different charities, including LYR.

Andy Triggs Hodge said: "As a rower, I have admired and appreciated the amazing work LYR has done for a long time. I love rowing, it is a valuable sport within society that should be available to all young people without restrictions, and alongside the full variety of sports. 

“I've seen rowing transform young (and old) people's lives, and LYR has achieved more than anyone else for communities that wouldn't have the chance. I'm very proud to join LYR and help make rowing matter for more people. 

“Rowing has an image problem, there is an understandable perception that rowing is reserved for a wealthy elite. This is wrong. Through LYR, and a few likeminded clubs, rowing has made a big change, however there is a long way to go, and I look forward to adding my weight to that mission."

Matt Rostron CEO of London Youth Rowing said: “We are really pleased to announce that after working with Andy for many years, he is going to join LYR as a Director and will join the Senior Management Team of the charity in what is a brand-new role for us.

“Andy has brought that same drive, determination, energy, and passion that won him his Olympic medals to the role already. We are not only completely thrilled with what he has done for us and dozens of other charities with the RTT event but we are incredibly excited about what we will be able to delivery together in the future.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have been developing LYR’s post-lockdown revival plans, and have been fortunate enough, in an economic climate that has been extremely hard on the third sector, to be able to focus on what comes next for us and how best to be ready for what the future will look like. Andy will now be playing an even bigger part in that future for LYR.”