As you know, John and I have a strong affinity for nature and we support animal welfare charities in as many ways as we can, but this time it was the animal supporting a human cause in my role as official photographer for the Saga Louts. Please note that although I have just referred to myself as an animal, it’s on the understanding that I meant it in the most sophisticated sense! Regular readers will be familiar with the Saga Louts, a motley crew of middle-aged crooners who love music and happily give their time to worthy causes like the Ocean Youth Trust South (OYTS).
The OYTS works in partnership with other organisations like youth clubs, schools and social work teams to identify young people, many of whom will be disadvantaged or vulnerable in some way, and offer them a unique opportunity for personal growth. It involves being part of a crew that sails a 72-foot long yacht across the seas for a few days and extends a long-term programme of work to participants, ensuring lessons are learned and achievements are celebrated. The youngsters (aged between 12 and 25 years) include children who have been bullied or bereaved, young carers, victims of crime, those with family situations affected by substance abuse, or those who simply wish to broaden their experience and face new challenges.
I’m no expert but I have eyes and I see a desperate need in many young people these days to learn essential life skills such as cooking, confidence, coping with unfamiliar situations, learning to communicate with others and dealing with conflict so that they can lead a more healthy and constructive existence. I can only imagine the joy and the trials faced by the staff and volunteers who organise and facilitate these adventures so hat’s off to them for making a difference to all those children’s lives.
The venue was the Fareham Sailing and Motorboat Club at the back of Portsmouth Harbour looking out on to the Solent. The Club’s history dates back to the 1800’s when ladies and gentlemen took to the water in leisure sailing craft and rowing boats. These days the clubhouse has space for cruising yachts and motor boats, and room in the workshop for a band and a bunch of enthusiastic ladies doing their version of a handbag-shuffle! It was great to see these lovely ladies shimmy the night away while the Creekers played folk music and shanty songs in their top-hats and waist-coats. They were followed by the Saga Louts playing their crazy mix of punk, rock and 80’s dance. The gig was held as part of an Ocean Youth Trust South campaign to raise funds to buy a new boat so they can continue the remarkable and life-changing work they do. Sounds like a great excuse to get stuck into the BBQ. Get your wallet out John, I’m buying burgers to raise money for a good cause. Well the photographer needs to keep his strength up you know!