As many know Drogheda is a proud maritime town with a long rich history and Drogheda Port is an integral part of that story. However the reality is that most local kids have little or no experience of anything maritime except a trip to the local beach the odd summer if the sun made an appearance. The Drogheda Sail Training Bursary Scheme is designed to change that in a unique and self-educating way.
In 2013 Sail Training Ireland and Drogheda Port Company established the “Drogheda Sail Training Bursary”. Sail Training Ireland is the National Sail Training Organisation and a Charity with youth development at its core, its patron is President Michael D Higgins. The Drogheda Sail Training Bursary was the first of its kind in Ireland, the anchor scheme, which led to subsequent development of similar bursaries in Cork, Belfast, Waterford and Derry so far. The scheme is designed to potentially change lives by providing access to sea-going voyages for young people. It offers a rare and influential experience to youths from counties Louth and Meath that may not normally have this opportunity. The sail training participants undertake voyages on classic sailing ships as part of the working crew and the experience often has a profound effect on their outlook on life. It also inspires good working ethic, motivation, confidence, resilience, a sense of adventure, and in some cases new potential maritime-career paths.
To date the Drogheda Sail Training Bursary has funded 8 amazing voyages for 72 local youths. Going forward the aim is to increase these figures and also to offer voyages on larger UK and European vessels as well as local vessels. None of this would be possible without the bursary sponsors, who are very dedicated to this initiative for young people and strong advocates of corporate social responsibility. Their support makes it all possible.