A project to make water sports available to all ages and abilities has been awarded £1.69 million to help make it a reality.

The Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust has been successful in its bid to the Coastal Communities Fund, which has provided 70 per cent of the £2.39 million project cost.

The money will be used to transform Trevassack Lake, a former quarry near Goonhilly Downs, into a national centre of excellence for providing fully accessible water sports activities.

Young people of all abilities, including those with multiple and profound disabilities, will be able to enjoy a full range of watersports on site, from sailing dinghies, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and windsurfing on adapted and non-adapted craft, accessing the water from specialist pontoons and hoists.

Revealing the good news to supporters this morning, the trust said on social media: “Hurrah! We have been awarded a huge £1,696,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund to transform 26 acres of disused quarry at Trevassack Lake into a national centre of excellence for watersports for all.

“Opening in spring 2021, this will add to our well-established activities on the Helford River – meaning more fun for more children.”

The grant will help fund a learning centre for children and young people with disabilities, along with two lodges where families with disabled children could holiday together. The plan ultimately is to have seven lodges. The charity has previously estimated that it would be able to provide activities to around 1,500 children of all abilities each year, with around 13,000 individual outings in that time.

It will also create seven and a half full-time-equivalent jobs, along with two apprenticeship positions each year and a substantial number of volunteering positions.

Video: Helford River Children's Sailing Trust

Jonathan Thornton, the trustee overseeing the lake development, said: “This project is a long-held ambition of Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust and has been over three years in the planning.

“I’m delighted that we will now be able to begin work onsite and create what will be a truly exceptional facility for ALL children, particularly those with special needs and disabilities.”

The trust will also commission a unique floating classroom, which will take young people with disabilities, including wheelchair users, onto the water to view marine life through underwater cameras and onboard screens.

Simon Osborne, chief executive of the trust, said: “Parents and teachers tell us that taking part in sailing and watersports is a transformative experience for young people. They gain new skills and build friendships, which boosts the confidence of many children that struggle in a classroom setting.” Among the other projects in Cornwall receiving grants through the fund is The Tin Coast project from the National Trust.

It has been given £460,000 towards a £483,000 project to develop the area in west Penwith into a year-round destination for walking and exploring the area’s heritage. The money will help fund visitor hubs at various sites, along with visitor facilities and improved signage.