A Carsington Sailability initiative to provide a day of fun on the water for children with chronic conditions, their families and friends has been recognised by Accessible Derbyshire.
The annual Summer Splash, run in partnership with the WellChild charity for sick children, was named 'Most Inclusive Event' at the Accessible Derbyshire Awards at Chatsworth House earlier this month. Carsington Sailability is part of the national Sailability programme run by sailing’s governing body, the RYA, which gives people with disabilities the chance to try sailing and to take part regularly.
The 2018 Summer Splash was hosted in July, as youngsters associated long-term with East Midlands hospitals enjoyed trips around Carsington Water on Sailability's fleet of sailing and powerboats, including its flat-bottomed, fully wheelchair-accessible Wheelyboat and an exhilarating specially-adapted RS Venture keelboat. On shore, live music, stalls, games and great food ensured there was a carnival atmosphere.
The inspiration for the Summer Splash came from Dr David Thomas, Consultant Paediatrician at Nottingham Children’s Hospital, a keen sailor and member of Carsington Sailing Club. His years of professional experience have highlighted the therapeutic benefits sailing can offer children with exceptional health needs.
Member and volunteer, Gary Flint, and his wife Mandy collected the award on Carsington Sailability’s behalf. Gary said: "The award was testimony to all the hard work and dedication of everyone that created an incredible atmosphere for the children, their families and friends, and made the event such a success.
"It was an honour and privilege to meet and bring enjoyment to the inspiring children and their families. We thank the sailing club members that dedicated their time and boats to make it happen, the WellChild team who supported the children’s needs and whose expertise made the day seamless, and all the other volunteers whose help both on the day and in the build up to the event was invaluable."
Summer Splash allows children with access needs to get out on the water on a family boat trip with an experienced crew. There are hoists and specialist equipment available to help sailors in and out of boats, while many of Sailability’s volunteers and members support from their own wheelchairs and scooters, before transferring into boats to take the visitors sailing.
Carsington Sailability previously worked with Accessible Derbyshire on delivering and supporting the infrastructure for an on-site mobile changing room.
For more information visit about Carsington Sailability visit www.carsingtonsailingclub.co.uk or to find out more about the national RYA Sailability programme go to www.rya.org.uk/go/sailability