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Roll on, Roll off – roller skating club among new groups to be sponsored by Wightlink 

(7 Feb 2022) Three new groups have been added to the list of local organisations who will benefit from Wightlink in the Community: Sponsorship in 2022.  

The Isle of Wight Rollerskaters, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and Isle of Wight Triathlon Club join dozens of others who have had their sponsorship renewed this year in a support package worth more than a quarter of a million pounds. 

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says: “We are committed to supporting a wide range of charities, sports and arts groups whose activities play an important role in enhancing the quality of life on the Isle of Wight, particularly for young people.  

“We are passionate about giving back to the communities in which we operate and hope our support today is leaving a legacy for future generations.” 

The Isle of Wight Rollerskaters applied for assistance as they are looking to build the skills of members by training on the mainland. 

Nicola Peace from Isle of Wight Rollerskaters says: “Our enthusiastic skaters have been given an amazing opportunity to train with the Portsmouth Roller Derby Team. There isn’t currently the option to play this fast-paced contact sport on the Island, so we are very grateful to Wightlink for helping us travel to our training sessions and events. 

“We hope to pass on the skills we learn to other skaters and establish an Island roller derby team one day – as well as a junior team to develop young talent.” 

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance will receive help with travel to support its community engagement and fundraising activities.  

Keith Wilson from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance says: “Each mission we attend costs on average £2,882 – and it is only thanks to the generosity of the communities that we serve that we are able to keep the air ambulance flying and saving lives. Wightlink’s sponsorship will help enormously in our outreach and engagement work with the Isle of Wight community which is an essential part of raising vital funds for our charity.” 

Other charities to be supported via Wightlink’s scheme include Ability Dogs 4 Young People, Aspire Ryde, WightAID, Naomi House and Jack’s Place, RSPB and LBT Global. Alongside formal sponsorship arrangements, many other good causes will receive ad-hoc travel support throughout the year. 

Arts group to receive sponsorship in 2022 include Medina and Shanklin Theatres, New Carnival Company, Fusion Arts Academy, Julia Margaret Cameron Trust, West Wight Arts Association, Newport Jazz Club and Platform One College of Music. 

David Pontin from the music college says: “Wightlink’s ongoing support of Platform One enables us to bring industry professionals to the Island regularly which not only enhances opportunities for young musicians, it also allows us to interface with the national and wider music industry. The sponsorship also allows students to perform across the UK and further afield.  Without this support none of these amazing opportunities would exist. The Wightlink support really makes a difference.” 

The Isle of Wight Triathlon Club support means under 18s will receive help with travel which is particularly important as there are currently no triathlon events for juniors on the Island. 

Club chairman Julie Van der Helstraete says: “We’re thrilled to join Wightlink’s sponsorship scheme, it will make a huge difference to our young triathletes and their families who represent the Island around the country. We know from experience that travel costs can create a barrier to some young people pursuing their sporting goals so Wightlink’s help will definitely make it easier for our members to progress.” 

Ongoing support will continue for other sporting groups including Ryde Rowing Club, Wightlink-Wight Mountain Cycle Race Team and ice hockey and ice-skating clubs which have relied on Wightlink support since the loss of the rink at Ryde Arena. Local football, hockey, boxing, sailing, rugby, skateboarding, athletics, cricket, running, swimming and disability sports clubs will also be supported.