by Simon Mason
The legacy programme has now been extended to offer water sport opportunities to those with disabilities with the introduction of the ‘Chesil Sailability’ group, After nine successful years of ‘Sail for a Fiver’ funded by the Chesil Trust introducing over 10,000 children to the sport of sailing.
This excellent new initiative will enable people with disabilities, of any age, from the local community to try sailing. The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) is the ideal location for people with disabilities to get out on the water having hosted the Paralympic stars only last summer. Located in the sheltered waters of Portland Harbour, the Academy is one of the best places in the UK for people with disabilities to experience saltwater sailing. In addition the Academy facilities are the proud holders of a ‘Distinction Award’ from the International Paralympic Committee for the accessibility of the venue.
The 2012 sailing venue is not only hosting the new programme but is also facilitating funding with the donation of a cheque for £1,500 as a start to the new 2013 set up.
John Tweed, Chief Executive of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, has been committed to the benefits this legacy orientated programme provides to the local community since its inception. 'The original Sail for a Fiver programme now supports 1,600 children per year and I am delighted that the opportunities for those people with disabilities is moving to a new level through the Chesil Sailability group. Having witnessed children with special needs try sailing for their first ever time at the Academy during the Spring I know that there is incredible value in opening up this opportunity to wider participation. The on water experience will offer a whole new world to those with disabilities and much joy for years to come.'
The WPNSA offers not only Paralympic legacy facilities but additionally the scope for the venue to develop as the national hub for people with disabilities to try sailing and advance to racing qualifications at the site where Paralympians regularly train and race.
Hugh de Iongh, Chair of Chesil Sailability, is delighted that plans to start the on the water sessions are progressing well, and is looking forward to using the world-class facilities at WPNSA. ‘Support from WPNSA is key to our success and we are excited at the opportunity to introduce people with disabilities to sailing in Portland Harbour.’