I Am A Rower
Lea Rowing Club’s I Am A Rower exhibition was conceived when we were asked to take part in National Sporting Heritage Day 2022, in recognition of our diversity work as a club and commitment to increasing access to rowing.
The photographs are accompanied by audio interviews so the viewer can also listen to each rower’s story.
Our new initiative to increase diversity at the Lea
The Lea Rowing Club is on a mission to have greater representation of our local ethnically and culturally diverse communities. We want people to be able to walk past our club and think ‘I can belong here’ #IBelong.
‘I thought the idea of a diverse group was amazing. I didn't initially think any of my friends would be interested in rowing but a few were and it gave us the opportunity to try something new.’
I Belong Learn to Row participant
As a club, and as individuals, we know how powerful and inspiring rowing can be, how it can unify people and speak to anyone beyond boundaries of age, gender, colour and sexuality. The Lea is a place to create a new passion; somewhere to feel at home. We believe that this happens when a strong sense of community is supported.
We offer learn to row classes which range from drop-in sessions to short courses, as well as fitness-based indoor rowing classes.
An I Belong Learn to Row crew after the last (third) session
In our news section we have a post written by Shalarm after he participated in an I Belong Learn to Row course. Here he speaks with Sara Cinamon about his experience. Shalarm now runs one of our indoor rowing sessions.
Following 2021’s Big Row, Lea R.C received funding from Love Rowing for our I Belong programme. Here you can read Love Rowing’s interview with Shalarm and Breindy and the impact rowing has had on their lives.
What people say about our courses
I Belong Learn to Row participant
‘People from our background don't really row so there were many occasions where others walking along the canal saw us and took out their phones to capture a group of Black people rowing. They were probably in disbelief to see us rowing.’
Indoor rowing participant
‘I am the only woman on the course and the oldest at 72 years. I’m really enjoying it and it has increased my fitness. I over did it a bit in the second week trying to keep up with the men so the instructor who is very good, sent me some exercises to do at home. I was the instructor’s nursery teacher! I’d like to keep going and learn to row.’
Drop-in on the water sessions participant
‘I loved it, I would jump at the opportunity of doing this more often if there was one!’
I Belong coach
‘Across 7 weeks and 13 sessions, a number of people came down to Lea Rowing Club to try rowing for the first time. These were all people who were local to the club – many had walked past and seen other people out on the water, or heard about the sport from a friend, and wanted to give it a go.
A lot had to be crammed into the hour-long sessions. Despite this short amount of time, the progress achieved by some was incredible!
At the end of each session almost everyone remarked that rowing was harder than it looked and required a lot more coordination than expected, but then went on to ask about how they continue and try more rowing! A few have already started training in this year’s novice intake, which has been great to see and the club is looking at how to get more to continue their rowing journey.’