YOUNGSTERS in Comet country will have the chance to ‘turn the tide’ as part of a special project which has gained support throughout the community.

The initiative, named ‘Stevenage Turn the Tide - Boat Project’ by Pete Cross, enables those aged between 12 and 19 to be involved in a pioneering scheme in which pairs will build a small sailing dinghy from scratch.

After this has been completed, participants will be taught how to sail their boat at Fairlands Valley Lakes, with the ultimate aim of allowing pairs to compete against one another in their boats at family day regattas.

Anyone who lives in Stevenage or any of the surrounding villages is eligible to take part, provided they are aged between 12 and 19.

The project, which is being backed by more than 13 partners including Hertfordshire Constabulary, Stevenage Leisure Ltd, North Herfordshire College, The Rotary Club of Stevenage and Hertfordshire Crucial Crew, aims to help young people develop skills and qualifications that could help change their life.

Trained professionals and qualified volunteers will oversee and supervise each stage of the project, which is planned to start at a workshop at The Glebe in Chells Way in September.

Chairman Pete Cross, who came up with the idea, said: “Young people need to have goals that are interesting and exciting to them and we see this project as meeting with those expectations.

“We expect the project will empower the young in developing skills that they may otherwise have not considered.

“In the longer term, this may well impact on their career choice.”

Patrons of Stevenage Turn the Tide include Hertfordshire-born Mike Perham - who became the youngest person to sail around the world in August 2009 at the age of 17 - and Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland.

Further volunteers with carpentry and DIY skills are still needed to ensure the project goes ahead in September.

For more information or to volunteer call Pete Cross on 07743807075 or email