Roger Sutton

Young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities enjoy boat trips with funding from the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust.

Roger Sutton

Pupils with profound and multiple learning disabilities from St. George’s School have been overcoming barriers and having fun on accessible motorboating trips.  Cowes Sailability Club has organised several excursions this term for groups from the special school, which welcomes boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 19 with severe or complex needs.  The most recent trips have been heavily subsidised thanks to a grant from the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust.

The trips have an incredibly positive impact on the young people, who are often unable to take part in other water-based activities, due to their disabilities.

“Students on the Isle of Wight are surrounded by water and the beautiful seaside but for young people with a profound and multiple learning disability being able to access the sea and water sports comes with a wealth of challenges,” explains Kirsty Sedgwick, a teacher at St. George’s School.  “Cowes Sailability Club removes those barriers, and students get the chance to get out on the sea in a boat which is specially adapted to enable them to travel in their wheelchairs out into the Solent and look back on where they live.”

She adds: “As soon as we arrive, some of the students begin to show their excitement as they recognise the exciting trip they are about to go on. The volunteers and crew are wonderful and do everything they can to meet the needs of their passengers and ensure that they get the most of their trip. Some students love to have the chance to sit behind the wheel and steer, others love sitting at the back and getting the spray on a sunny day. Those who can will clap and everyone will smile to show that they are having fun.”

The Bruce Wake Charitable Trust awarded Cowes Sailability Club a grant of £1,500, which has been used to help fund these very worthwhile trips.  “We are so grateful to the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust for its support,” says Trish Rooke, Cowes Sailability Club’s Vice Commodore and Fundraising Officer.  “It is so lovely to be able to offer accessible boat trips to pupils from St. George’s School and see their wonderful smiling faces when they get back to shore!”

The primary aim of the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust is to encourage and assist disabled people to participate in and enjoy leisure pursuits.  Penny Wake, Trustee of the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust says, “It’s wonderful and rewarding to see that our donation has created such enjoyment and happiness.”

The trips took place on a wheelchair-accessible motorboat, chartered by Cowes Sailability Club and owned and operated by Wetwheels Hamble CIC.  Specially designed to cater for people with disabilities, Wetwheels Hamble can accommodate ten passengers, including up to three wheelchairs, on every excursion.