A group of young people who identify as LGBT+ were able to get on the water as part of the Pride Youth Games thanks to Gresford Sailing Club.
The annual event rotates between Scotland, Wales and England, enabling young people aged 16 to 25 people to get together for a residential weekend to have fun and experience sport in a safe and inclusive environment.
As a joint initiative by Pride Sports, LEAP Sports Scotland and LGBT Sport Cymru, the aim is to grow participation and improve access to sport for LGBT+ people.
This year’s event was hosted in August by Glyndwr University, Wrexham, and among the sessions on offer was a chance for young people to get on the water.
Volunteers and instructors at Gresford Sailing Club, which bills itself as ‘probably the smallest sailing club in the world’, offered a big welcome to a group of 18 young people and leaders from the Pride Youth Games, with none of the participants having tried sailing previously.
Gusty conditions led to a few capsizes, with one participant winning a prize for a hat-trick of swims. Prizes were also awarded for the best sailing along with taster session certificates to celebrate the occasion.
Training Principal Chris Jones from the club said: “Participants sailed a range of dinghies including singlehanded Toppers, accessible Hansas and a doublehanded GP14. Initial nerves were quickly dispelled as the fun took over.
“Thanks go to the Gresford Sailing Club team of volunteers for making so many wonderful memories. Hopefully some of the participants will now go on to try more sailing closer to their homes.”
Gresford Sailing Cub is based on The Flash, a six acre lake just north of Wrexham, and offers dinghy sailing for all ages along with paddleboarding and a social programme for its 120 members.
An RYA (Royal Yachting Association) 2023 Club of the Year finalist, Gresford SC has a long and proud tradition of inclusion and accessibility, including as an accredited RYA Sailability club and a Sport Wales ‘In-Sport’ Ribbon holder.
The club also hosts the All-Afloat charity’s fleet of Hansa 303 Accessible dinghies, running special sessions for schools and adult groups who would not otherwise have the opportunity to take part in sailing.
The RYA recently launched its Together On Water strategy setting out its vision for a connected, inclusive and accessible sailing and boating community. Find out more about Gresford Sailing Club or discover more about how to get sailing at: www.rya.org.uk/start-boating