by Cailah Leask
Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) has started a sun filled spring day with the first of the 2013 ‘Sail for a Fiver’ programmes funded by the Chesil Trust. Inviting twenty one special needs children in years five and six from the local Westfield Arts College, Sail for a Fiver continues to be a testament to a thriving legacy post Olympics.
Sail for a Fiver Hosts Special Needs Children for the first 2013 Session
John Tweed, Chief Executive of the WPNSA, was remembering fondly his first time afloat, 'Sail for a Fiver gives special moments to a large number of people, we have helped over 10,000 children try sailing for their first time through this legacy scheme which started back in 2004 and continues today, we now see 1,600 children come through Sail for a Fiver annually'. Sail for a Fiver is funded by the Chesil Trust with support from a number of the 2012 Olympic sailing venue sponsors including SSE and leading lawyers Charles Russell who have supported the legacy programme over the years.
One success story is Adam Greaves who tried Sail for a Fiver back in 2007, a resident on Portland Adam soon became a familiar face at WPNSA learning at SailLaser. A promising sailor Adam also raised funds for his friends to try this sport and is now a fully qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor, he will be teaching during Sail for a Fiver sessions this coming summer. Adam commented, 'The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy has been a really big influence on me, through Sail for a Fiver I have met the Prime Minster and even received a letter from Lord Seb Coe'.
It was an accomplishment today for the Westfield Arts College pupils just to get their wetsuits on before heading afloat and was an experience for them to come onto the WPNSA site. Sailing gives the children an enormous amount of confidence and self esteem and provides key lessons in working as a team. Kerry Stewart, Head of PE and Outdoor Education at Westfield Arts College, is thrilled with facilities at the WPNSA, 'the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy is the ideal venue to bring our children with special needs, we are delighted that Sail for a Fiver allows them to try a new sport in a safe and calm environment'.
Now in its ninth year Sail for a Fiver is a testament to an Olympic legacy, Sir Ben Ainslie and Director of the WPNSA supports the programme, 'Sail for a Fiver is a key element in the WPNSA’s philosophy, we are committed to helping less privileged children try water sports and continue in supporting them through to racing events. A Sail for a Fiver child today may well be a future medal winner.'