Disabled sailors ready for week of Olympic fun in Walsall
Walsall Outdoor Pursuits celebrating visit of torch relay with special Sailability Sail for Gold sessions
Disabled youngsters and adults from around Walsall will enjoy a week of Olympic-themed fun on the water as Walsall Outdoor Pursuits hosts a series of exclusive Sailability Sail for Gold sailing sessions to celebrate the visit of the torch relay to the Black Country.
Based at Sneyd Water Activities Centre, Walsall Outdoor Pursuits is an RYA Sailability site, providing opportunities for local disabled people to learn to sail and sail regularly as part of the national Sailability programme run by British sailing’s national governing body.
Between Monday 25 and Friday 29 June, people with a wide range of physical and learning disabilities from Halesfield Day Care Services, Mary Elliot Secondary special school, Old Hall Primary special school and SENSE will either get their first taste of sailing under the watchful eye of specially-qualified instructors or continue on their journey towards obtaining their Sailability Bronze to Gold standard awards. Some are even learning to windsurf this year.
The week culminates with Walsall Outdoor Pursuits having an RYA Sailability Stand in the centre of Walsall as the torch passes through the town on Saturday 30 June.
Jeff Moore, sailing activities co-ordinator at Walsall Outdoor Pursuits, explains: “All of these groups sail regularly with us in the summer but we wanted to give our Sailability sessions a special Olympic focus to capture the excitement of the torch relay coming to Walsall.
“The whole ethos of Sailability focuses on the acceptance that everyone is different and it is what each individual can do, not what they can’t, that can be nurtured into a lifelong involvement in sailing. The people that come to us have a whole variety of physical and learning disabilities, ranging in severity from mild to very complex, but the most important thing is appreciating those differences and creating a range of appropriate opportunities.
“Sailing is a great leveller that encourages responsibility in the individual sailors. Once everyone is on the water the only thing that matters is making the boat go forwards.”
Walsall Outdoor Pursuits are enthusiastic participants in the RYA’s nationwide London 2012 initiative, Sail for Gold, celebrating Britain's unmatched Olympic sailing heritage and inspiring more people to get out on the water more regularly. Sail for Gold aims to bring the buzz of the Olympics as close as home to possible for everyone, wherever they live.
As well as the special Sailability activities, the centre is also hosting a number of open-to-all Sail for Gold Have a Go sessions throughout 2012 to introduce people to sailing at low cost.
The next Have a Go day takes place on Saturday 7 July and both adults and children have the chance to enjoy a two-hour taster session under the guidance of Walsall Outdoor Pursuits’ team of experienced instructors. The session runs from 9.30am to 11.30am and costs just £10 for an adult, £7 for kids (under 16).
Walsall Outdoor Pursuits is a recognised RYA Training Centre, meaning it conforms to the highest standards of quality and safety in the world. For more information about Walsall Outdoor Pursuits visit http://cms.walsall.gov.uk/index/outdoor_pursuits.htm or contact MooreJeff@walsall.gov.uk