A trust providing a Northland sailing programme used to teach students life skills on the seas and boost their confidence is asking for donations to continue its work.

The R Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust uses the tools of sailing as a way for young Northlanders to improve their skills, on and off the boat, by putting them on a week-long voyage with qualified sailors.

The voyages started in 2007, and have been successful in shaping and building skills and confidence for numerous children, sending more than 140 youths on 16 voyages each year.

The cost for a child to go on a voyage is about $1700 and the trust subsidises $875 of the fee to make it more affordable for parents.


But since the trust no longer receives help from the Government it is finding it difficult to provide subsidies without the help of outside donors.

"We know this programme works to help children, our recent survey backs that up," said chairman Mike Daniel.

"We need more donors to be involved so we can provide more voyages for children."

Mr Daniel has recently implemented a new programme that will allow potential donors to "sponsor a child" so donors can see the direct benefit their donation has had.

Someone who greatly benefited from the sail training programme was Ashley Kemp, who went on a youth voyage when she was 13 and has taken part in other voyages for five years.

Her mother Leanne Kemp said: "She was always a shy, quiet person and was nervous about meeting new people.

"But after her first voyage I could definitely notice that she had a lot more confidence.

"Now she will try anything, she is not afraid of things and she has a real passion for conservation and adventure."

A recent survey by the trust of 40 students who took part in the programme revealed 75 per cent felt their confidence had risen and important life skills had been gained from the sail training experience.

For more information on R Tucker Thompson, email info@tucker.co.nz.