Our Breaking Barriers programme provides young people with a unique combination of rowing and mentoring as tools to unlock their potential, creating a new generation of youth rowers who see rowing and the skills it develops as a pathway to achieving their goals. By engaging with our coaches and volunteer mentors, young people gain the following:

  • Broader aspirations to succeed, through increased awareness of opportunities, and commitment to take on challenges
  • More developed life skills, through improved control and confidence in their ability to apply these skills to sport, education and employment
  • Improved experience of the working world and knowledge of pathways into further education, apprenticeships and careers

To evaluate the impact of the programme we use the ‘MTQ48’ online questionnaire to track improvements in our participants’ self-awareness and mental toughness. Young people have shown increased confidence, control, commitment and an improved ability to cope with challenges, which are signposts to future success.


The achievements of Breaking Barriers has enabled us to expand the programme during 2018/19, to include more work experience placements, employability workshops and new one-to-one mentoring for 16 to 19-year-old youth rowers. We believe this delivery model with three tiers of participation enables the programme to maximise our positive impact on young peoples’ lives by building on the life skills gained through rowing.

Break In (age 14-15)

  • Six-week Learn 2 Row course
  • Access to ongoing weekly rowing sessions
  • 10-week group mentoring with corporate partners
  • Work experience opportunities

Since the successful pilot in 2014/15, Breaking Barriers has been available to Year 10 pupils at LYR partner schools, who benefited from our partnerships with PwC, CVB/Tideway East, BMB/Tideway West and the Port of London Authority.

Video above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqU14IvscDA

Jakub, 2017/18 participant, who had 100% attendance, and he also had a week’s work experience with his mentors at CVB:

“During rowing, I learned how to work as a team and how to push myself beyond my limits…I never knew I would ever row! This increased my confidence and made me less scared to try new things.”

Break Through (age 15-16)

  • Regular opportunities to develop experience and pathways for employability
  • Skills workshops with the Royal Navy
  • Online workshops with LYR staff mentors
  • Information to attend events such as Skills London

Break Out (age 16-19)

  • 1-to-1 mentoring
  • Volunteers mentors from business and the rowing community
  • Focus on goal setting and employability pathway support
  •      Monthly meetings during an academic year

Please click here to find out more about becoming a mentor.

If you are interested in joining the programme or would like further information please contact us at [email protected]