DOZENS of children from inner-city Southampton schools are set to make a splash thanks to a sailing academy.

Around 100 children will take to the water this year as the ABP Southampton Sailing Academy launches its 2015 programme of classes.

The academy, which was founded last year thanks to a £10,000 investment from the Port of Southampton, will give youngsters the chance to try sailing through a series of taster sessions at Southampton Activities Water Centre (SWAC).

This year’s programme kicked into action as around 20 pupils from Newlands Primary School in Millbrook donned Michael Carr their life jackets and hit the water.

Jon Kirby, SWAC programme manager, said: “The pupils from Newlands Primary School had a great time and it just goes to prove the real difference that sailing can make to young children.

“It gives them a chance to learn teamwork, communication and self-reliance; all while getting active and having a great time.

“Who knows, over the coming months we may discover some budding Ben Ainslies and Ellen MacArthurs among our cohort.”

The academy is one of many community initiatives run by the port including the ABP Southampton Half Marathon.

Last year, port staff raised £30,000 for the Countess Mountbatten Hospice in West End, Southampton.

Nick Ridehalgh, ABP director, Southampton, said: “We are incredibly lucky to have some of the best waters for sailing right on our doorstep but sadly, for many local young people, the chance to get out on the Solent and try sailing is out of reach.

“We are delighted to be able to offer young people from Southampton the chance to experience the sport of sailing for themselves and give local talent a chance to thrive.”