Cowes: UKSA training charity appoints new chairman

UKSA, the national youth maritime training charity based in Cowes, has announced Kevin George as its new chair of trustees, as current chair William Garnett’s three-year appointment comes to an end.

Kevin George is currently chair of Red Funnel Group, having held the position of CEO of the company from 2014-2018. He is also a business director of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and has a strong interest in sailing. On his appointment of UKSA chair, George said: “I have long been a supporter of UKSA for the amazing work it does in helping people achieve changes in their lives through sailing and water sports. It is therefore a pleasure and honour to become the chair of trustees. A lot has been achieved in recent years and I look forward to helping UKSA move to the next exciting stage in its development.”

Dawn Haig-Thomas, vice-chair, added: “On behalf of all of the trustees, I would like to thank William for his support and commitment to UKSA in his role as chair.”

Ben Willows, UKSA’s CEO, said: “Following the success of the last three years, we have a clear focus for UKSA’s future. 10,000 young people and children train with us annually and our vision through developing our site and capacity will enable an additional 3,000 young people to come to UKSA each year. By creating more funding opportunities, we will enable children and young people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity, the chance to experience the transformational power of water-based experiences and education we can offer. Kevin’s commercial experience and knowledge of the maritime sector is an excellent addition to UKSA, and I am delighted that he will be supporting us over the next three years.”

Garnett commented: “I and all the trustees are delighted that Kevin has agreed to be my successor. He will be a huge asset. I have very much enjoyed being a trustee and then chair of UKSA. In that time the Board and the new management team have transformed UKSA into a buzzing, financially sustainable charity. We have strengthened and broadened the trustee body and our relations with funders including Children in Need, RYS Foundation, Sea Farers UK and Trinity House. We have increased the number of young people on all of our programmes both from and off the island, and have raised our profile nationally.  We have invested in our assets including the purchase of four new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 449s yachts; leased and enhanced the Cowes Youth Club building both for the benefit of our students and the Cowes community; increased our bursaries for young people and finally obtained planning permission for our new development and raised over £1m towards it from our new and broadening group of supporters. I have accepted the invitation to be an ambassador for UKSA.”