Twenty five adults with a range of learning disabilities enjoyed “amazing” motorboat trips during the summer of 2019, organised by Cowes Sailability Club.

Twenty five adults with learning disabilities had the opportunity to take part in eight motorboat trips, arranged by Cowes Sailability Club during the summer.  These regular boating activities provided a stimulating environment in which the group from the Phoenix Project could learn new skills, build confidence and have new sensory experiences.

The Phoenix Project is a specialist day service for adults with learning disabilities, based in Ryde on the Isle of Wight.  “There are many reasons why people with learning disabilities enjoy trips organised by Cowes Sailability Club,” says Sam Whittingham, Chief Executive of the Phoenix Project.  “For some it is having the opportunity to learn how to steer and control the boat under supervision.  For others it is more sensory; they enjoy the movement of the boat, the feel of the wind and the spray of the water or the exhilaration of being able to go really fast.  The individuals who took part in the trips described them as ‘amazing’ and ‘brilliant’.” 

“I am delighted to hear how Cowes Sailability Club’s activities have really helped people with disabilities from the Phoenix Project,” says Trish Rooke, Fundraising Officer for Cowes Sailability Club.  “We are currently fundraising to buy a new wheelchair-accessible motorboat, so that we can increase the number of accessible boating trips that we can offer on the Isle of Wight in the future.  It is our aim to give many more adults and children with disabilities the opportunity to learn new skills and have new experiences on the water.”

Eight trips were arranged for the Phoenix Project by Cowes Sailability Club during the summer of 2019, with a funding contribution from WightAID, a charitable foundation that distributes grants to good causes on the Isle of Wight.  The foundation receives funding from island companies, investors and individuals and distributes it to charities, groups and organisations that aim to improve the lives of people living on the Isle of Wight.

The 2019 boating trips all took place on Wetwheels Hamble, a nine-metre catamaran owned and operated by the Wetwheels Foundation.  The vessel can accommodate ten passengers, including up to three wheelchair users, at any one time, making it ideal for groups of people with disabilities.