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Going all afloat at Rhyl marine lake

by Hamish Stuart 13 Feb 14:47 GMT
Going all afloat in RHYL © Karl Midlane

Sailing opportunities for everyone have been created on Rhyl marine lake thanks to a number of grants to improve accessibility awarded to the Welsh Sailing charity All Afloat.

All Afloat has been awarded grants to install a hoist which will open up accessibility and ensure anybody who wants to enjoy the freedom of the water can do so, no matter what their mobility.

The hoist will complement the existing fleet of boats which are suited for people of all abilities, but previously some had been unable to get into the boats.

The grants will also cover some of the fleet operational costs and suitable volunteer training.

Sailing is often considered an inaccessible sport and yet it provides a real sense of freedom and pleasure which can be as challenging as you want it to be.

Specially adapted boats and the new hoist system will mean that anyone can be made comfortable in the boat, take control and enjoy the freedom in safety.

"Sailing provides many health and well-being benefits which can be a great part of any rehabilitation" said Mike Butterfield, RYA Cymru Wales Chairman and All Afloat Trustee

"This grant makes sailing available much closer to those who look out to the sea and wish they could have a go themselves. It forms a part of a refurbishment of a key facility which has been underutilised for the past few years."

Former RYA Cymru Wales Chief Executive Phil Braden (recently passed away) worked hard to fund this exciting project and secured funding from The Steve Morgan Foundation, The Gwynt y Mor Community Fund and The Waterloo Foundation (TWF).

The Steve Morgan Foundation supports projects that help children and families, people with physical or learning disabilities, the elderly, or those that are socially disadvantaged in North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Shropshire.

Last year over 50 regional grants were awarded to good causes in north Wales. The grant to All Afloat is for the development of a children's programme in the newly refurbished marine lake.

Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm has provided a £19 million fund for communities in coastal areas of Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire. GYM Offshore Wind Farm, located off the coast of North Wales, is the world's second largest wind farm.

"The Gwynt y Môr Community Fund is delighted to have been able to grant aid the RYA Cymru Wales' All Afloat initiative.

The project is very much aligned to Gwynt y Môr's themes of "Building strong, cohesive and sustainable communities" together with "Reducing poverty and inequality in communities".

Providing new opportunities for our young people and promoting active and healthier lifestyles in the very heart of our community is to be encouraged.

"We look forward with interest to the launch of this exciting programme and witnessing young sailors of the future take to the water along our coastline," said Neil Pringle, Gwynt y Mor Community Fund Manager.

The Waterloo Foundation (TWF) is an independent grant-making foundation. In addition to supporting projects with a global reach, they provide support for organisations working in Wales which provide support for unpaid carers, increase employment opportunities or address educational inequality.

The Waterloo Foundation supports organisations that help people increase their employment prospects and improve their life chances.

"Having seen that sailing promotes life skills that employers look for in candidates, we were delighted to support the All Afloat charity," said Anna Rees, Wales Fund Manager, the Waterloo Foundation.

"We look forward to hearing about the young people taking part in the Rhyl programme.

"Sailing is for everyone and an activity for life. The grant funding has enabled All Afloat to improve accessibility at Rhyl. That means more people benefitting from being outside and active."

Joff McGill, RYA Sailability Manager, said, "Sailability is the RYA's national programme enabling people with disabilities to try sailing or returning sailors to take part regularly.

All Afloat Manager Rosy Hearn added, "We're incredibly thankful for the grant funding from our partners. We're excited to get started and we're now looking for participants and volunteers. If you're interested in taking part or helping with this project we would love to hear from you."

If you would like to volunteer or contribute to the All Afloat Rhyl project, we encourage you to get in touch, email info@all-afloat.wales

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