FAQs – Everything you need to know about coming to The AHOY Centre!

  General

Is the AHOY Centre a club?

No - we are a watersports based charity changing people’s lives and building life-skills through sailing and rowing. Our registered Charity Number is: 1084122.

Our primary objective is giving opportunities for disadvantaged and at-risk youths plus offering opportunities for disabled people to participate in activities and courses on an equal level. We bring together people from many walks of life to work together as a community helping others and all our activities and programmes are focussed on teaching transferable and employable skills.

Our activities help to break down social barriers and provide the opportunity to teach and train people to develop essential life-skills, self-confidence and pride.  There is a major focus on teamwork and personal development and through our existing and future courses and activities we provide the opportunity to build self-esteem, confidence and offer training vital to finding employment

Alongside this we promote a healthy lifestyle and the opportunity for the local community to participate in water activities not usually accessible in this area of London by using London’s greatest natural resource – the river Thames!

Are your courses and qualifications recognised?

Yes we are a RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Training & Sailability Centre – BR (British Rowing) centre with BR Clubmark accreditation and AALA (Adventure Activities Licensing Authority) accredited centre.

Our activities take place on the river Thames so our qualifications also include coastal endorsements.

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 How to get here

Our address is: The AHOY Centre, Borthwick Street, Deptford, London, SE8 3JY and we’re easily accessible by road, river and well connected to public transport options.

  • 12 minute walk from Deptford and Greenwich mainline stations
  • 12 minute walk from the Cutty Sark DLR station.
  • The 199, 47 and 188 bus stops are within a 6 minute walk
  • The Thames Clipper (Riverbus) Greenwich Pier is a 14 minute walk

For details of how to plan your journey, please see the Transport for London website

We only have parking on-site for our disabled visitors, however, there are free car parking bays on the road directly outside the Centre.

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 Safety

How safe are the activities at The AHOY Centre?

We are a RYA (Royal Yachting Association), AALA (Adventure Activities Licensing Authority) and BR (British Rowing) accredited centre and are inspected regularly to ensure our safety procedures, including risk-assessments, remain at a high level. All our instructors are fully qualified and we have safety boats afloat for every activity. We supply all the required safety equipment. Buoyancy aids are worn at all times when on the slipway and on the water. Everyone over the age of 18 who works or volunteers at AHOY completes a full disclosure DBS (CRB) check.

We have full Public Liability & Third Party Insurance through the RYA nominated Insurer.

We have a great safety record which we’re very proud of.

What are your Fire procedures?

On arrival, each school group is met by their lead instructor and given a thorough fire and safety briefing and a full explanation on all emergency exits, meeting points and procedures for evacuating the buildings.

What about First Aid cover?

All our watersports instructors are fully-qualified first aiders. 

Are your staff DBS (CRB) checked?

Yes – this is vital for us to work with children and vulnerable adults so everyone over the age of 18 who works or volunteers at AHOY completes a full disclosure.

I can’t swim – is this a problem?

No – provided you are “water confident” i.e. will be happy to go afloat it doesn’t matter. Everyone wears a buoyancy aid and our safety boat team are on hand at all times in the unlikely event that anyone goes overboard.

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 Volunteering

I want to volunteer – what’s the process?

Great – we’d love to have your help! It’s simple - just ring 020 8691 7502 option 2 or email info@ahoy.org.uk  for full information. You’ll see how your skills will help others and we’re sure you will enjoy working at the Centre with our friendly, enthusiastic team.

I’m not an adult – can I volunteer?

Yes you can! Our Shipmates programme is open to young volunteers aged 8 to 18. It’s a great programme which has four stages: Bronze, Silver, Gold & Platinum with each level increasing not only your sailing and rowing skills but also your “life-skills”. These life-skills include: team work, building confidence, effective communication, fundraising, admin & reception and maintenance of both our buildings and fleet where you’ll be taught basic DIY skills.

At 14 you can be enrolled onto the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. The Shipmate programme is also a great way to build your skills and CV - as it’s never too early to start thinking about your career when you leave school or college!

You’ll make friends and be taught by our friendly, enthusiastic and qualified instructors and they’re here to help you achieve every step of the way.

What if I’m disabled or having learning difficulties?

No problem - we can cater for most disabilities whether you're a child (under 18) or an adult. We have a diverse range of abilities amongst our current adult volunteers who meet every Wednesday and our young Shipmates. We really encourage inclusivity so please contact us on 020 8691 7502 option 2 or email info@ahoy.org.uk to discuss your requirements. 

When do Shipmates meet?

Our Shipmates meet every Saturday between 09:30 to 16:30 all through the year – sunshine or rain! During the summer months (March to September) they also meet for sessions on Wednesday evenings.

I don’t have any sailing or rowing clothing?

We provide dry suits and buoyancy aids for all our water activities so all you need is a change of clothes and shoes as they will get wet! You’ll need footwear i.e. an old pair of trainers that you don’t mind getting wet.

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 Corporates & Businesses

We’re interested in a Corporate Volunteer Day – do you run these?

Yes we do! Our “Business in the Community Days” are a great day by the river for your team and help us enormously with our maintenance and cleaning tasks. There’s also opportunities to row – either indoors in our rowing gym or on the river Thames. You’ll find the experience rewarding as you will see how your work really does help others. Here’s what Zurich said after their day:

"Our day at AHOY was by far the best team building day we have ever had. Actually doing something practical, as a group, was far more effective than some contrived management game, we all left feeling that we had helped a charity that was doing amazing things. The day massively exceeded our expectations, somehow managing to be effective, fun and humbling all at the same time. Thank you so much for having us. I just hope we were able to help you as much as you helped us." Patrick Lindley   CEO Dunbar Assets PLC – Zurich

We’d love your company’s help so please ring 020 8691 7502 option 2 or email info@ahoy.org.uk

We’re looking for a Team Building Day with a difference – can you help us?

Yes – we have some innovative packages to give you a great, unforgettable team building day so please contact our Events Team by ringing 020 8691 7502 option 3 or email events@ahoy.org.uk 

Do you hire out your centre to external customers?

Yes we do – we have our riverside main centre which has fantastic views across to Canary Wharf and down-river to Greenwich plus, further training/class room facilities all with OHP’s and sound systems. Also there is our amazing indoor rowing gym. All are available for day-time and corporate events. For more information and costs please ring 020 9691 7502 option 3 or email events@ahoy.org.uk

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 Schools & Groups

Sailing & Rowing forms part of the school curriculum and we offer RYA courses and rowing courses to fit in with local schools’ syllabuses – including primary and secondary schools and colleges.

Is The AHOY Centre right for our school/group?

We have been working with schools and groups for over 11 years and we get great feedback and results! Have a read through our Programme Menu click here for link and see what the various activities can offer your students – not only the obvious skills like learning to sail and row – but subliminal skills: teamwork, improved communication and self-confidence.

Our Outreach Officer can also arrange to visit you at a time and place that suits you to discuss in more detail the outcomes of our programmes. Email activities@ahoy.org.uk or call 020 8691 7502 ext 209 for details.

This is just one testimonial from a local school:

“Our experience of working with AHOY has been outstanding. The commitment of their team is evident at all stages. All the children thoroughly enjoyed their time and many said it was the best thing they have ever done. There were so many children who “shone” and many of these were vulnerable children. There is something very special going on at the Ahoy and I would recommend to everyone to pop down and have a look. The quality of the staff and volunteers combined with the excitement of sailing on the Thames leads to life-changing experiences. You really do see your most vulnerable children redefining themselves as learners and achievers” Headmaster of St John the Baptist school in Lewisham

We’re sure there’s something for your group at The AHOY Centre!

Is financial assistance available?

For certain groups, schools and organisations we are able to help with the costs of your activities. To find out more, email activities@ahoy.org.uk

How safe are the activities at The AHOY Centre?

We are a RYA (Royal Yachting Association), AALA (Adventure Activities Licensing Authority) and BR (British Rowing) accredited centre and are inspected regularly to ensure our safety procedures, including risk-assessments, remain at a high level. All our instructors are fully qualified and we have safety boats afloat for every activity. We supply all the required safety equipment. Buoyancy aids are worn at all times when on the slipway and on the water. Everyone over the age of 18 who works or volunteers at AHOY completes a full disclosure DBS (CRB) check.

We have full Public Liability & Third Party Insurance through the RYA nominated Insurer.

We have a great safety record which we’re very proud of.

What are your Fire procedures?

On arrival, each school group is met by their lead instructor and given a thorough fire and safety briefing and a full explanation on all emergency exits, meeting points and procedures for evacuating the buildings.

What about First Aid cover?

All our watersports instructors are fully qualified first aiders.

Are your staff DBS (CRB) checked?

Yes – this is vital for us to work with children and vulnerable adults so everyone over the age of 18 who works or volunteers at AHOY completes a full disclosure.

Some of my pupils can’t swim – is this a problem?

No – provided they are “water confident” i.e. will be happy to go afloat it doesn’t matter. Everyone wears a buoyancy aid and our safety boat team are on hand at all times in the unlikely event that anyone goes overboard.

What if my group are disabled or have Special Needs?

The whole ethos of our charity is inclusivity and have a full programme of activities click here for link for both learning and physical disabilities. All our staff and instructors have disability awareness training.  Our buildings and amenities have wheelchair access together with a range of adaptive equipment to enable people with a varying degree of disabilities access to both sailing and rowing. To discuss your group’s requirements please email activities@ahoy.org.uk or ring 020 8691 7502 option 2.

Do I have to provide lunch for my group?

Yes. We do have a water machine. Please note that due to allergy control we do not allow any nuts to be eaten/brought on-site.

Do students require special clothing?

We provide dry suits and buoyancy aids for all water activities. We’ll send you a full kit list before your visit and participants need to bring a change of clothes and shoes as they will get wet! They need to bring footwear i.e. old trainers that they don’t mind getting wet.

What is the largest class size for a School on the River?

We can accommodate a class of 36 pupils plus support staff on one of our activities dependent on their abilities. Group sizes will be less if your group is disabled or has Special Educational Needs (SEN)   

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Making a booking 

I would like to make a booking for my group, what is involved?

Please email activities@ahoy.org.uk or ring 020 8691 7502 option 2 to discuss your requirements and agree a date. It‘s useful to have alternative dates to hand in case we can’t accommodate your first date. We will then email you a Booking Form and invoice and make a provisional booking for you which will be confirmed when we receive your completed booking form and payment.  Please arrange payment as soon as possible – the final payment is due 4 weeks before your activity.  You can pay by cheque or on our website via PayPal 

 

What happens if I have to cancel my confirmed booking?

If you cancel your booking up to 4 weeks before your activity, 50% of the booking fee will be refunded.  If cancellation is received within 4 weeks of your visit, the full booking fee will be retained by The AHOY Centre.

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Other activities we run 

I’d love to learn how to row – what rowing courses do you run?

Our rowing programme is all about “inclusivity” and our aim is to open rowing up to everyone in the community – whatever your age, ability or current fitness levels! We have a “state of the art” dedicated indoor rowing gym with eighteen Concept2 dry rowers plus equipment and software to run virtual competitions, challenges and leagues.

We use traditional Thames Watermen Cutters to row on the water – these beautiful boats have strong historical links to London and the Thames when back in the 17th century they were used as river “taxis” ferrying supplies and passengers to larger vessels.   

We teach “fixed seat” rowing and also train teams to take part in some great sponsored rowing challenges:

The AHOY Meridian Pull – rowing from Westminster to Greenwich,

The Great River Race – an external event which is run each September and the course is from Greenwich to Richmond.

The ultimate challenge is: The AHOY Channel Row Challenge where teams row from Dover to international waters on the English Channel and then race back to Dover!

For more information please ring 020 8691 7502 option 4 or email rowing@ahoy.org.uk

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Apprenticeships 

I’ve left school and can’t get a job – do you run any courses for people like me?

Absolutely! We know how hard it is get a job so we run two great apprenticeship schemes right here in Deptford – one in “Activity Leadership” leading to a potential career in the watersports industry and will give you managerial, leadership skills. The second one in “Boat Building & Repair” which trains you in a range of skills suitable for a career in the construction industry.

I found school hard work – is this course any different?

Learning at AHOY is very different and not like school or college. You will be shown practical applications which you’ll find useful and which have a direct link into the world around you. Our motivational tutors will support and encourage you all the way in learning new skills to help you develop your career and get a job.

All our qualifications have a strong emphasis on leadership and communication skills.

So make the decision that could really change your life by ringing 020 8691 7502 option 2 or email   training@ahoy.org.uk  for more details.

Do I have to attend every day?

The programme is full-time so you’ll learn quickly and learn something new every day of the week (Monday to Friday)

I really find English & Maths a problem – is this going to stop me?

No – because the programme includes teaching Functional Skills which will really help you improve your English and Maths plus your IT knowledge.

What if I’m disabled or having learning difficulties?

No problem - we have a diverse range of abilities amongst our current apprentices and we really encourage inclusivity so please contact us by ringing 020 9691 7502 option 2 or email training@ahoy.org.uk to discuss the next step.

I can’t pay for this – can you I still become an AHOY apprentice?

Yes! Our apprenticeship scheme is funded to support young people like you and you’ll also earn an apprentice’s wage during the 12 month programme. To find out more, email info@ahoy.org.uk

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Private Courses 

I want to gain RYA (Royal Yachting Association) qualifications – do you run these?

Yes - we offer all our courses and activities to private users. We can help you with most of the RYA courses i.e. VHF, first aid, powerboating and sailing. We can take you to Instructor or Advanced power boating. For more information and details of our prices please ring 020 8691 7502 option2 or email activities@ahoy.org.uk   

I need qualifications with a coastal endorsement – can you help?

Yes – because our activities are run on the tidal part of the River Thames your qualifications will include a coastal endorsement.

 

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