Disabilities forgotten at RVYC Open Day

Cowes Sailability Club supported the annual RVYC ‘Open Day for People with Disabilities’, providing assistance and funding for wheelchair-accessible boat trips.

For many years, Cowes Sailability Club has supported the Royal Victoria Yacht Club (RVYC) in Fishbourne, helping it to put on a fun-packed day of activities for people with disabilities on the Isle of Wight.  This year, Cowes Sailability Club was able to secure funding from the WightAid Foundation to help the RVYC charter a wheelchair-accessible, high speed catamaran, giving adults and young people with limited mobility and visual impairments the chance to experience exhilarating boat trips in the Solent.   

“It was wonderful to be a part of the RVYC Open Day once again,” says Paul Wilks, Commodore of Cowes Sailability Club.  “Adults and children who have very challenging lives could forget about their disabilities for a while and have a great day out.  For some, it was a chance to enjoy boating for the first time, and we are very grateful to WightAid for giving us the funding to provide wheelchair-accessible boat trips throughout the event.”

WightAid awarded Cowes Sailability a grant of £2,500 towards the charter of boats that are specially adapted to cater for the needs of people with disabilities.  Using this funding, Cowes Sailability Club chartered a nine-metre, wheelchair-accessible catamaran owned and operated by the Wetwheels Foundation.  The WightAid grant will also enable Cowes Sailability Club to charter adapted sailing boats and motorboats on additional dates this summer and run more trips for individuals and groups of people with a wide range of physical disabilities, learning disabilities and debilitating long-term medical conditions.

At the event, volunteers from Cowes Sailability Club joined with RVYC members to help welcome guests, fit life jackets and provide shore-side assistance.  The day’s activities were all conducted in compliance with COVID-19 safety guidance from the Isle of Wight Council and Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

86 people with disabilities and their carers enjoyed boating trips during the RVYC Open Day including groups from Sight for Wight (IW Society for the Blind), Southern Housing, Parkinson’s UK, Mountbatten – Young Adults, Southern Housing, Kingston Farmhouse Care, Cowes Physically Disabled, Ryde House and Pleandene.  The High Sheriff James Attrill, the Lord Lieutenant Susie Sheldon, Bob Seely MP, Parish Councillor Malcolm Hector and Councillor Ian Dore also attended the event and spent time with the guests. 

About WightAID

WightAID is 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 local people.