British Canoeing Awards


Neal Underwood of The Sharks has been nominated for a British Canoeing award for the Clubs work on engaging with the wider community. Voting is now open.

Although he nomination accepted by British Canoeing was for Neal Underwood, his view is that it is the whole Club which deserves the nomination, both paddlers and staff who are excellent ambassadors for both the Club and the sport.

There is a short list of three candidates and the winner will be chosen by a popular online vote, and anybody can vote.

The vote takes place for one week, commencing on Monday 22nd November 2021 till Sunday 28th November, please remember to vote for us, we will post details as soon as we have them.

Winning this award will have very positive outcomes for The Sharks as it will highlight the work that we do in getting people active in paddle sport. We really do a lot and the fact that we get so many people involved is due to our excellent staff, who never miss an opportunity to promote The Sharks and what we do.

So thank you to every-one involved.

Why Were We nominated?

In order to give you some information about how we have engaged and what we are doing, please read below and also take a look around our website. Please feel free to use any of our pictures or videos, but please if you have your own you can use and share please do., we also have videos on YouTube.

OPDC Advert

The Sharks Engagement with the wider community

In addition to this check our our engagement page

Our aim is to get people of all ages and all backgrounds active in paddle sport, The Sharks are the most diverse canoe club in the Country, we have no barriers.

In order to reach as many people as possible we work with as many organisations as we can, these include statutory organisations, such as local authorities, schools, regeneration partners. We have reached out to many local non-statutory organisations, such as Scouts, cadet units, churches and faith groups (yes, we have had a number of faiths coming down, bringing their members to participate), as well as other community groups. We have also worked with the business sector to bring canoeing to new developments and to bring funds and resources into the sport, as well as providing opportunities for their staff to participate.

In 2021, we set ourselves a target of reaching out and working with 21 different organisations, we have achieved this and gone well beyond. In addition to the partnerships listed on the website:

  • We are engaging with two local universities, Brunel and West London, to provide opportunities for students to participate in paddle sport, these discussions have been going very well, but got delayed due to the Pandemic.
  • Have been speaking with Queens Park Rangers Football Club on linking in with their very successful and award winning Community programme.
  • Have established links with three more schools, who we hope to start working with. Additionally we were working with two others, Featherstone Primary and the Nishkam School prior to the Pandemic, we will resume these partnerships in 2022.
  • We are also working with developers to secure a canoeing base in Hayes Town Centre, it is agreed in the plans for redevelopment, all we need is for the work to start, well to be finished, but starting will be worth celebrating.
  • We are a regular feature at the Hayes Canal Festival
  • We work with communities in Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, and Hounslow.
  • We work with people of all abilities, with special needs schools and groups.

We have been working with the Old Oak Common and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) for a number of years, this as enabled us to locate a container in the Harlesden/Park Royal area of NW10. Having established this facility, we are working with OPDC, to improve and expand the facilities and offer we can make. As part of this partnership we are working together to reach out to local schools, businesses and community groups in order to replicate the numbers we are getting in Southall.

We also run regular come and try it sessions for various events in conjunction with the OPDC.

Our numbers are impressive, in addition to our regular club sessions we are reaching a large section of the community, over 3,300 at Osterley this year and we have not yet finished. This also includes regular attendance from the Sybil Elgar School for Autistic children.

Southall with our partnership with Three Bridges Primary School Let’s Leap Holiday Club and Let’s Go Southall has been brining in nearly 100 paddlers a week. As we have said already expecting to expand this for next year.

On top of this we have had two-hundred Scouts form various troops down, next year we will be running regular Scout sessions for those wishing to get their canoeing badges.

We are very keen on charity work and have been a bit hampered this year, but have still raised over £8,000 for registered charities, over the years we have supported members raising money for Charity: Some of this is with national charities, and some with local, particularly proud of the Pandemic, social distanced fund raising with the wider Southall Community:

We also work with environmental organisations and other volunteer groups to help maintain and protect the environment and specially the waterways. Working on clean-up projects and helping organisations such as Thames 21 and the Colne Valley Regional Park, most recently with the removal of Floating Pennywort, which was featured on the BBC’s Country File programme.

During the depths of the Pandemic we kept engaging with our members and followers encouraging them to be positive through activity, we sent out regular newsletters, post on social media, set up chat groups on WhatsApp and promoted activities to do, working with local council sports development team to promote activities of the London Youth Games team. As well as promoting some initiatives of our own.


Standing with the local community against racism.


Working with volunteers in the Colne Valley to remove floating Pennywort.

The sharks exercise - Read-Only
The sharks exercise - Page 3

Working with Our Barn


Raising money in Lockdown


Writing for Residents Newsletters

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Swim finish

Swimming for Charity

kingsland basin slalom may 16 2015 092 Caitlin and Ellan

Winning awards for our work with London Sport