The season has started well for us. Despite having to cancel a few sessions (one for too little wind and two for too much wind), we have nevertheless had some great sailing.
April 3rd was a particularly good session – 25 sailors and we were delighted to welcome new volunteers. Thanks to them all for the support.
In the photos below you can see that Chris sailed solo for the first time since coming for the last year and Alice sailed solo for nearly two hours despite an injury to her steering hand.
At the recent Annual Meeting of the Project (held at the Royal Harwich YC), the Chair of Trustees (John Wilkinson) introduced the meeting as follows:
The Chairman welcomed attendees and outlined the morning presentations.
He stressed the need for everyone to be actively involved with the project and thanked the 60/70 regular volunteers but stressed more volunteers were always needed to cover the expansion of operations and reduce individual workloads.
The new operational structure using Committees with specific roles and responsibilities was now in place and the work of these Committees is fed back to the Board of Trustees.
The Woolverstone Project is one of the largest Sailability Centres in the UK and in 2016 held 417 sailing sessions. These involved 1350 sailors, 1,055 carers supported by 406 volunteers. The peak month for the project was August when we offered opportunities for 227 sailors, 193 carers all supported by 35 volunteers. The project worked with and provided sailing experience during 2016 to 7 disability schools and 14 disability organisations.
A Wheelyboat – named Egret – was acquired last year following a successful fund raising program which contributed over £25,000 to the cost of purchase. A new hoist (in memory of John Negus) was also installed at Alton Water making boat launching and retrieval much easier and quicker.
Finally the Chairman thanked all the major supporters of WP during 2016. These included RHYC, Woolverstone Marina, Fox’s Marina, Royal Hospital School, Alton Water Sailing Club, Mayhews Farm (storage facility) a number of sailing and Rotary clubs and those who subscribe to the Friends of WP scheme.
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.
Congratulations to all our 2016 award holders …..
Entry level awards
Daniel Smith, Michael Bell, Sebastian Marcher
Alice Carter Swallow, Cameron Sherman, Chris Rubens
Andrew Dunnett, Matthew Weller, Robbie Demoulin,
Calling everyone who shops at the Coop:
We are delighted that our recent application to take part in the Coop Community Token Scheme has been successful!
Collection boxes will be appearing in Maningtree, Brantham and Holbrook stores on the 1st November and will run for three months until the end of January 2017.
So – do help us out when you are shopping and share this as much as possible to encourage others to put their green token in the right box!
This photo was taken at the laying up supper of the youth group. Loads of food was provided by the families and the sailors were all awarded with badges made by Frances. Left to right are Matthew, Alicandra, Ross, Florence and Tom. A great year for the youth group – well done to all …
David Cousins came to join the Project shortly after we moved the Access dinghy operations to Alton Water. He was a very active member of the group of sailors who helped to establish the very successful racing team that toured the UK winning so many trophies and helping build up a great respect for the work of the Project.
Despite his disability he remained, while he was able enough, to be one of the most regular sailors and took part in so many events. Outwardly a quiet man he retained strong, positive and supportive views on the Project and its future and over the years made many useful contributions which were put into practice. Despite his painful disability he never allowed this to deter him from taking an active part of the project and his grin and sense of humour seldom left him.
David was a kindly and generous man, greatly respected by the sailors, instructors and all those around him. He was deeply considerate and supportive for the young sailors and was, in his quiet way, able to instil confidence and a sense of security to them to help them to enjoy their new-found activity of sailing.
David had a multitude of talents. He was a very skilled craftsmen building many model boats including the radio controlled 1 metre racing yachts which he also raced successfully. He generously donated one of his own model boats to the Project for use in demonstrating racing tactics. For many years he and his wife Vera were deeply involved with the local Dramatic Society and as a talented artist he designed the scenery for many years for the Society’s pantomimes. As well as all these distractions, he was a very active member of the Needham Market Town Council and was at one time Mayor.
So many will be affected by this sad loss and I know that all our thoughts are with his wife Vera who was so supportive of his sailing activities to the benefit of the Project.
A great article about the Wheelyboat in East Anglian Daily Times.
Our much anticipated Wheelyboat has finally been delivered and, after a few days tests and setup, it went out for its first trip today. Despite a windy and occasionally grey day, the mood was one of excitement as we finally saw the culmination of all the hard work to raise the funds. Today’s group was easily loaded over the bow ramp and with two project volunteers (including our Chief Instructor), four wheelchair users and their carers we set off up the river towards Ipswich. The boat exceeded our expectations – it was comfortable and stable giving all the users a dry and comfortable ride.
A great day’s racing for our annual Brandy Race. Thanks to all our helpers including race officers and volunteers. The weather was ideal and we had some close racing. Congratulations to Jo (sailing with John Norman) on winning the Brandy Trophy and to Cameron (sailing with Tony Burrows) on winning the Manningtree Trophy. Thanks also to David Stuart-Thompson from Manningtree Rotary for coming to present the trophies.
1. Jo with John N
3. Robbie J
3. Robbie de M