Imagine the thrill of riding a pony for a young person who can feel and hear but has no sight, or of sailing a dinghy fast on a sunny breezy day when you are normally limited to the speed of your wheelchair.
With the help and support of trained instructors and support staff, these exciting and exhilarating activities encourage greater independence, improve social skills and confidence and also provide great therapeutic benefits, helping to improve movement, balance and mobility. They are of course also great fun.
These fantastic activities have been made possible for around 50 visually impaired young people at WESC Foundation, thanks to a donation by the Whirlwind Charitable Trust.
Reg charity no 1058937
“I can enjoy myself with people I haven't met before.”
Thanks to funding from The Whirlwind Charitable Trust, MACS can take 11 young people on a sailing adventure from Ipswich to Southampton.
MACS conditions are incurable. For many the absence of eyes is linked to brain development and they may also have learning difficulties and behavioural problems. MACS children are disadvantaged by their visual impairment, but also by facial disfigurement.
Taking a MACS child on a sailing trip is a life-changing experience. They learn teamwork, independence and communication. The children also achieve new skills: plotting points on charts, filling in the ships log, calculating distances and communicating with the Coast Guard.
“I was able to contribute towards group tasks.”
Sea-Change works to educate young people and vulnerable adults through sailing aboard a Thames sailing barge, developing their physical, mental and social capabilities so they may grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society with, in many cases, their conditions of life improved.
Whirlwind is kindly supporting two separate groups with whom we shall be working this autumn, 2017.
The first will provide seagoing experience to ten pupils attending the London Nautical School and considering maritime careers. They will spend five days aboard under sail.
The second will support several days at sea for two groups of ten from the London-based Single Homeless Project. Following the success of a highly successful pilot project, they have been identified as likely to benefit from a similar residential sailing experience.
Thanks to the generosity of The Whirlwind Charitable Trust, we will provide day sails and two residential voyages to disadvantaged young people from Plymouth. Sailing is an excellent platform for the development of personal and practical skills.
This project will engender a ‘sense of place’ in a community that, despite living in a maritime city, sometimes fails to engage with the sea. The voyages will encourage young people to understand the opportunities that the marine/maritime sector presents and to appreciate the need for the conservation of the marine environment.
The young people will steer the boat, raise the sails and anchor and help with domestic tasks on board. They will experience the joy and challenge of a life at sea.