Waveney sailing group offers people with disabilities independence on the water

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRAD

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A group which provides sailing opportunities for people with mental and physical disabilities is back out on the water.

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Gerald Crowe is lift

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Gerald Crowe is lifted into the boat. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Waveney Sailability meets every Tuesday afternoon at Waveney and Oulton Broad Yacht Club, where members can enjoy training and racing out on the Broads.

The group has around 55 individual members, along with some corporate members, but can still cater for more.

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Sarah Mayo, centre,

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Sarah Mayo, centre, comes into the quay with instructor Christine Steward. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The project was formed in 2005 with Rotarians from local clubs originally providing the finance and the volunteers to get it off the ground.

And since then the group has gone from strength to strength, providing sailing opportunities for people of all ages with a wide range of mental and physical disabilities.

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Andrew Provan with h

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Andrew Provan with his instructor John Seaman (hat). Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017


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Sally Green, director of Waveney Sailability, said: 'We can cater for people who want to sail individually, with an instructor or take their family out with them.

'We started off with just a few boats, but we've fundraised, people have bequeathed boats and we've had grants, so we have been able to grow our fleet.

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRAD

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

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'People are independent on the water and for some it is the only time they feel independent because they can go off and leave their carers behind.

'It's also nice for the parents and carers because they can get together and have a chat with a cup of tea and piece of cake.

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRAD

Members and instructors enjoying the Waveney Sailability group at Oulton Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

'I know from talking to people that it has health benefits for our members. They come back much calmer and it gives them something to focus on and talk about. We also have social events, a Christmas party, and barbecues.'

Some of the members sail simply for pleasure, while others go on to gain qualifications and take part in races with Waveney and Oulton Broad Yacht Club.

Mrs Green said: 'It's not a pressurised thing, we give everyone the opportunity if they want to. But it is a good confidence builder.'

The group sails from April to October and membership costs £70 for the six month period. Anyone interested will be offered two free trial sessions.

To find out more call 01502 566533 or visit www.waveneysailability.co.ukHow the group helpsFourty-seven-year-old Kieran Young has been a member of Waveney Sailability for four years.In December 2011, he fell down some steps into a basement and was in hospital for over a year after suffering a critical brain injury.Prior to his accident, Kieran was an adrenaline junkie and enjoyed white water kayaking, travelling all over the country. He said: 'I have always loved water sports and I like the fresh air. I just love being out on the water.'I get to sail with an instructor which is good because they have got a lot of experience and you can have a good chat. I have learnt a lot from them about how to control the boat in the water and weather conditions.'I love it, I would sail all year round if I could.'Kieran also takes part in adaptive canoeing and sailing with the Nancy Oldfield Trust and adaptive skiing at Trowse.

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