MIL-OSI UK Cities: Sea trip fun for disabled children

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Source: Aisle of Wight

21 Sep 2021

Children with disabilities enjoyed exciting boat trips organised with the support of the Children’s Services team at the Isle of Wight Council.

Working with the council’s Children’s Services department, Cowes Sailability Club arranged exciting days out on the water for children on the island who have physical or learning disabilities.  The young people were able to enjoy trips on a specially adapted, wheelchair-accessible motor boat, along with their parents and siblings.   

“It can be so difficult for parents to find fun activities to do with their children, when one person in the family has a disability,” says Paul Wilks, Commodore of Cowes Sailability Club.  “It was lovely to be able to provide accessible boating trips and see so many island families having a great day out together.”

Kathy Marriott, Head of Strategy and Operations for Children’s Services, came along to see one of the trips in action.  “What a fantastic experience for all the children and families – especially after the last year,” she said.  “The joy on the children’s faces was so special to see and the inclusive approach of all the volunteers and the skipper was superb.  A huge thank you from all of us at Children’s Services!  You have made some very special memories for our children!”

Boating activities can really improve children’s confidence and mental health, by enabling them to have new experiences in a safe environment.  Many of the children who participated in the trips had never had the opportunity to take part in water-based activities before due to their disabilities – and they all had a great time. 

Cabinet lead for Children’s Services, Councillor Debbie Andre, said: “What an absolutely brilliant opportunity this was and I’d like to thank Cowes Sailability Club for making this happen. The children and their families certainly had an amazing time and I’d also like to thank our Children’s Services team for helping to ensure the families continue to have the chance to take part in inclusive activities such as this.”

Cowes North ward Councillor Richard Quigley was among the visitors who observed the positive impact that the boating trips had on the young people.  He said: “It was a privilege to go out with Cowes Sailability Club and see the amazing work that this charity does.  You can see the difference in confidence from when a young person gets on a boat to when they get off.  The smiles say it all.” 

The boat trips were organised in association with the Wetwheels Foundation and took place on a nine-metre catamaran called Wetwheels Solent.  Owned and operated by the Wetwheels Foundation, the boat has been specially designed to cater for people with disabilities and can accommodate up to three wheelchair users at any one time.  In total, 60 places on the boat were made available to the Children’s Services department by Cowes Sailability Club and then allocated to families across the Isle of Wight.

Factfile

  • With the Children’s Services team support, Cowes Sailability Club arranged exciting days out on the water for children on the Island who have physical or learning disabilities.
  • The boat trips were organised in association with the Wetwheels Foundation and took place on a nine-metre catamaran called Wetwheels Solent.
  • In total, 60 places on the boat were made available to the Children’s Services department by Cowes Sailability Club and then allocated to families across the Isle of Wight.

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