Vectis Falcon
Vectis Falcon

Cowes Sailability Club has received a special commendation for maintaining contact with isolated members and volunteers during lockdowns.

Cowes Sailability Club has been awarded a special commendation by the RYA for setting up the Ahoy There scheme and supporting vulnerable members and volunteers during national lockdowns.  The award was presented online at the annual RYA and Yachts & Yachting ‘Club of the Year’ Awards, an event that recognises the outstanding achievement of sailing and sailability clubs across the UK. 

The Ahoy There scheme was set up by Cowes Sailability Club in April 2020, at the start of the first national lockdown.  Through this initiative, any member or volunteer at the club could request a regular phone call from a volunteer to help relieve feelings of loneliness and isolation.  To date, over 160 Ahoy There conversations have taken place.

Leon Ward, RYA South Disability Development Officer, stated: “For the past year keeping in touch with friends and family has been so important but incredibly difficult to do so for so many people, and especially so for those who are vulnerable and have had to self-isolate. Cowes Sailability Club quickly realised the impact that this may have for its members and volunteers and its Ahoy There initiative has helped give vital support to so many people who have been greatly affected.”

The RYA special commendation was received by volunteer Kathryn White, who helped to run the Ahoy There programme.  “The Ahoy There scheme would not have been possible without the commitment of the wonderful team of volunteers who made regular calls to people who were lonely and vulnerable during lockdowns,” she said.  “I accepted the award from the RYA on behalf of all those involved in delivering the scheme and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for all they have done.”

During the live online award presentation, RYA Chief Executive Sarah Treseder said: “The past year has been extraordinarily challenging for all of us in so many ways. But I am delighted that we are still in a position to recognise the outstanding achievements of clubs right across the UK.”

She added: “As in previous years, the quality of nominations was really high making it an extremely difficult job for the panel.  Many congratulations to Cowes Sailability.”