Motivating Young People Through Sailing

We provide life-enhancing, residential and day-sailing activities for young people with special needs, disabilities, and those experiencing hardship and deprivation. We award disadvantaged young people the opportunity to not only widen their horizons but also develop their skills and capabilities through the joy and challenge of learning to sail. Beneficiaries are aged primarily from 14 – 18 but on occasion, may be as young as 10 and can be up to the age of 25. Our bursaries are wholly based on need and can be up to 100% of costs.

Each sailing expedition is tailored specifically to the needs of the group, with consultation between the Skipper and Group Leader, to ensure that we are able to create the optimum learning environment. Most sailing weeks offer the opportunity to work towards an RYA certificate.

On an Island Trust voyage young people sail as a crew, cook and eat together. Time with us is so much more than just sailing – many studies have concluded that sailing is a particularly effective and innovative platform for enhancing young lives. It encourages co-operation, a sense of responsibility, instils a sense of adventure, develops initiative, social skills, feelings of self-worth, communication skills and acts as a catalyst to engagement with education and employment.

Our Ocean Discoverability day sails support young people from special needs schools and day centres in Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall. Some with life-limiting conditions. This work has expanded our own day-sail provision, and is in addition to our residential sailing voyages.

On a typical Ocean Discoverability day the young crew will observe, touch and feel marine life in the marina before examining it under the microscope and via an underwater camera on the seabed. After a safety brief and familiarisation with the boat, the trip begins easily by motoring down the River Plym to Plymouth Sound while stowing the ropes and fenders. This helps the young people get used to the boat and its motion.

Once in the Sound, those who wish to do so help hoist the sails and steer. There they gain an appreciation of the geography, marine life and other ships and boats, spotting and recording them in a specially written guide. Depending on the levels of ability there are mystery objects to find on deck, simple tasks like finding and counting all the stanchions, a nautical word search, calculating the boat’s sail area and learning some knots. Some just enjoy the sensory experience. On the return journey they help collect samples of plankton for microscopic examination when back in the marina.

Exercise and fitness classes
Community and accessible transport
Adult education and learning
Sports clubs and groups
Mental health support
Health advice
Employment and training initiatives
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