Ipswich waterfront is set to come alive with dragons in September

Ipswich waterfront is set to come alive with dragons in September

Ipswich waterfront is set to come alive with dragons on Saturday 18th September as local charity Fresh Start, new beginnings (FSNB) brings its Dragon Boat race back to the town for the first time since the pandemic.

FSNB provides therapeutic services to children and young people under the age of 18 who have been victims of sexual abuse. Based in Ipswich, the charity has therapy centres across Norfolk and Suffolk and helps around 200 young people and their family members in East Anglia every year.

The charity first held the dragon boat race in 2018, and it has since become one of its most successful fundraising events. Charity trustee Mick Parker and event supporter Mark Murphy of Radio Suffolk, took to the water on dragon boats kindly supplied by local company ‘Dragon the Deben’ to launch this year’s event.

Made possible by the kind support of Associated British Ports Ipswich (ABP), who have permitted the race on the waterfront, starting near the Cult Café/Bar, the event is open to teams of 10 paddlers who compete in three races with the winning teams battling it out in a grand final.

Once again there is big demand for the event, with a number of local businesses already signing up. The 2019 winners were Ipswich-based Hudson Signs who will be working hard to retain their title for a second year.

Since the onset of the Covid pandemic, the charity’s opportunities to fundraise have drastically reduced and it is calling on local communities and businesses to get involved and sign up for this one of a kind event.  Ipswich Samba band will be entertaining teams and spectators throughout the day and local businesses will be offering a range of food and drink for people to enjoy.

FSNB Managing Director, Patsy Johnson-Cisse explains, “We’re so excited to be welcoming our dragons back to Ipswich this year.  It is such a fun day out for everyone involved and the impact it makes on our services is just incredible.  The last even raised £14,000, which is enough to enable us to provide therapeutic services to seven children that have been abused.  The impact this can make on them is indescribable, and it’s so important that people who fundraise for us understand what a difference their efforts can make.

“Aside from being crucial to our income generation, it’s also a brilliant way for companies to bring together staff for some fun team building and to compete against other local businesses.  I’d like to thank everyone who has shown an interest so far and the Associated British Ports Ipswich, who provide such fantastic support, and without which the event would not be possible. I really hope we can sell out and bring Ipswich alive with colour, music and laughter as our dragons take to the water!”

Paul Ager, Divisional Port Manager from ABP said: “ABP welcomes the return of the Dragon Boat race this year, which is such a popular event for the local community and an important fundraising initiative for local charity, FSNB.”

Teams of 10 can enter the Dragon Boat race for £350. A drummer must also be supplied by each team. To enter, sign up here.

Information on Fresh Start new beginnings can be found at https://www.fsnb.org.uk/.

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