About Us

A group of children at the CCC Dinhy Section, at Bardowie Loch. The children are cheering in front of the boats.
Saracen Primary at the CCC Dinghy Section, Bardowie Loch, June 2017.
Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation. Image Credit Marc Turner

Founded in 2010, the Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation is a registered charity (SC041451).

We care deeply about propelling 10 to 12 year old children – at school in areas of acute social and economic disadvantage – into their critical teenage years with an unforgettable experience of sailing, enterprise and achievement.

We strive to make that experience one that excites, motivates and challenges them to find out what makes them come alive; one that helps them to discover more of their potential in their teenage years; and one that boosts their attainment and motivation levels as they prepare for the all-important transition to secondary school.

The sea-change experience we deliver is called Buoyed Up. There is nothing else like it in the UK for this age group. We originally tested Buoyed Up in Australia and we have also successfully piloted Buoyed Up in South Africa in response to demand there.

Buoyed Up

Buoyed Up is a SEA change for 10 to 12 year old children growing up in areas where there are fewer opportunities to develop different interests and learn about the wider world. It delivers a unique experience focusing on Sailing, Enterprise and Achievement.

A collage of photographs. They are all of children engaging with activities such as sailing, map reading, and Virtual Reality.

Buoyed Up introduces the children to new role models – such as sailing instructors, business people and those who have been successful in sport and the arts – who underline the value of resilience and perseverance to achieve goals and aspirations.

In addition to these encounters with inspiring individuals, we introduce the children to whole groups of people engaged in the maritime world of work.

In half day visits to shipping and engineering companies and nautical colleges, the children find out from a combination of practical activities and meeting different skilled people what it’s like, for example, to work in: engineering, design, navigation, naval architecture, marketing, catering, finance, Communications, IT.

Four children on 2 boats on the water at Castle Semple Loch.
Glencoates Primary on Castle Semple Loch, May 8 – 12th 2017.
Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation. Image Credit Marc Turner

Buoyed Up activities take place mainly within the school day. This is to ensure that all of the children can participate and that the activities are supported and monitored by the class teachers and classroom assistants whom the children know and trust. We have found the cooperation, commitment and enthusiasm of the teachers critical to the success of Buoyed Up.

Sir Thomas Lipton

A photograph of Sir Thomas Lipton, he is wearing a cap and sports a mustache. He is holding a pair of binoculars.

At the heart of Buoyed Up is a narrative about the life and example of Sir Thomas Lipton (1848-1931).

Born in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, Thomas Lipton succeeded in becoming one of the world’s first global entrepreneurs. He opened his first grocery store in Glasgow in 1871.

Lipton built his success on a combination of stocking essential good quality products at affordable prices, a first-class customer service, his own charm, and a seemingly endless store of marketing initiatives that caught the public imagination.

By the turn of the century hundreds of Lipton stores could be found on high streets across Britain and Ireland. Since the early 1890s he had also become the owner of tea plantations. In his determination to cut out the so-called middle man, Lipton produced and branded his own tea.

His innovations in branding, packaging and advertising helped to establish Lipton Tea worldwide. Today, Lipton remains the world’s best-selling brand of tea, sold in more than 110 countries.

To this day the name of Thomas Lipton also commands great respect in the world of sailing. Not only did he sponsor sailing everywhere, from Britain to North America, from South Africa to Australia and New Zealand, he was passionate about sailing being accessible to everyone, regardless of age, income or background.

Through his personal charm, perseverance, sportsmanship and generosity in defeat in five America’s Cup challenges, Thomas Lipton became one of the most loved and respected people of his time. These qualities in sailing and business make him an inspiring figure to learn more about in Buoyed Up.

Through Thomas Lipton’s life, Buoyed Up presents opportunities to learn more about what it is to be an entrepreneur, about maritime heritage, about the tea trade, about shipping, about Victorian times, and about World War 1. At the same time, his life is a lesson in resilience and remaining positive through thick and thin.


  • Alice Davies
  • Shirley Robertson OBE
  • Hugh Agnew
  • Jamie Matheson
  • Ian Ruff

Founder & Director

  • Laurence Brady