A PROGRAM to allow people with a disability experience the freedom and excitement of sailing is back on the water for another year.
Volunteers, members from the Bendigo Yacht and Cairn Curran Sailing clubs, Sports Focus employees, service groups SCOPE and Golden City Support Services and participants attended Sailability’s season launch yesterday.
The volunteer-driven program has accessible boats, a crane, hoist and pontoon to allow those with accessibility issues to sail.
“It’s an accessible program,” Sports Focus project coordinator Lauren Riley said.
“Sailing is a wonderful and accessible activity for people with a disability - anybody can sail.”
Ms Riley said the volunteers got a lot out of helping people sail.
“It’s not an activity people get to do much,” she said.
“For a lot of them it’s their first opportunity to get on the water and experience the freedom and excitement of being able to sail.
“When you see some of their faces when they’re out there, it’s wonderful.
“If you talk to any of the volunteers, that’s what they get out of it.”
Ms Riley said about 80 people attended the casual sailing classes last year, which happen at least every first Wednesday of a month.
She said some people attended casually while some really took to it.
“There were a few last season who would attend every month and became really comfortable and competent on the water,” she said.
“It’s great to have the sailing club on board, because there are pathways for people to participate in higher levels if they want to.”
Ms Riley said all stakeholders had worked hard to make the program a success.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have the support of the sailing club, who have provided a lot of the volunteers on the sailing side of things,” she said.
“The support services have really given us an insight to make the program work for those with a disability.
“Everyone has brought their expertise to the project and it’s been a great partnership.”
For more information or to book call Sports Focus on 5442 3101.