Below is a summary of a short presentation made by Robbie Johns – Chair of the Sailor’s Committee at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the project.
In 2015 – the 20th Anniversary of the Woolverstone Project – a document was produced proposing changes to the Project to help us prepare for the next 20 years. One of the proposals was for the creation of a structure to include a new Sailors Committee and as Chairman of that Committee, I will be responsible for reporting directly to the ‘Chair of Trustees‘.
The purpose of the committee is to provide a forum, representing the sailing member’s views and to use their skills and enthusiasm to a greater extent. The main intention behind this committee is that sailors are directly associated with the project and are engaged more closely with it’s aims and objectives. Raising awareness of the issues that cause sailors concern is a priority for the committee and your (sailors) feedback is essential.
What do sailor’s find difficult to manage and why ?
It may be because of ‘hidden’ impairments such as a hearing or visual impairment or they may be learning disabilities that ‘others’ at the project need to be mindful of. Most physical disabilities are not ‘hidden’ and the difficulties the sailors face are varied and challenging, assistance may be required to manage their needs.
Last February I joined Julia and other members of the project for a Disability Awareness Training Class. In the introduction paper there was a question ….. What is a disability?
This answer from the RYA Sailability…. and I quote …..
The ‘loss of ability’ brought about by the failure of the environment or people to accommodate a person’s impairment.
In other words ‘nautically speaking’ we become ‘stranded’ when we are not accommodated for. We all therefore need to be aware of environmental considerations at the Woolverstone Project and do our best to provide what really matters to ‘accommodate’ a person’s impairment. The Trustees think of these ‘needs’ as Essential rather than Optional when planning for the future and so do use the sailor’s committee to ensure that they are taken into consideration.
Before I finish … I would like to say on behalf of all the disabled sailors involved in the Woolverstone Project a big ‘Thank you’ to the Trustees and all the Volunteers for kindly being so accommodating in giving your time, assistance and support to enable us to sail throughout 2016. Well done to you all.