A South Yorkshire charity which provides day and residential canal and river experiences for the most disadvantaged groups in the region has benefitted from a grant from the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation.

The Sheffield-based Ethel Trust works with young people with learning and physical disabilities to address issues with self confidence and working in teams and developing social skills. It works with special schools, colleges and day centres to identify young people who can benefit from its help.

Its “Unlocking Confidence” project aims to provide eight three-day residential sessions on one of its community barges for up to 48 young people aged from 16 to 25, accompanied by their tutors and carers.

The young people undertake a series of practical activities, including steering the boat and operating locks and bridges, as well as preparing food for each other and contributing the general housekeeping while on board.

This is the second time the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation has supported the Trust’s work. Vice Chairman Richard Stroud MBE said: “The Ethel Trust does some amazing work with young people and its values and vision fit very well with our own, so we are delighted to be able to support its work.”

The Ethel Trust runs two community barges based at Sheffield and at Thorne, near Doncaster. The barges have lifts to provide access to all areas for wheelchair users and those with mobility difficulties, as well as fully accessible toilets and shower rooms and kitchens. The “Unlocking Confidence” project is taking place on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal.

David Tuck of the Ethel Trust said: “In 2023 the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation generously supported the project, and the overwhelming success has led us to open it up to more young people in 2024.”

The Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation provides grants to both young individuals and to organisations which support them across the whole region. Its main annual fundraiser is the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary and has now raised more than £1.5m.

The proceeds originally went to a children’s charity, but the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation was founded in 2010 to further support charitable projects for young people in the Yorkshire region.