BSC's 2023 Inclusion programme gets underway
Published 15:07 on 17 Jun 2023
Last week saw Bray Sailing Club's partnership with Lakers return for the 2023 season. (Lakers is a local sports and activities club for children and adults with intellectual disabilities). Blue skies, sunshine, and perfect wind conditions greeted the volunteer Instructors and sailors for their first session of the 2023 season which will see Lakers members take to the water for six sessions over the course of the next few months.
Lakers and Bray Sailing Club have had a close partnership since the summer of 2017 which has seen close to 40 different Lakers members take to the water. The programme has run each year since then, except for a Covid interrupted year in 2020, and sees regular "Lakers at Sea" participants and new "Lakers Try Sailing" members enjoying the thrills and spills of sailing! The partnership began when the BSC Instructor team invited Lakers along to a Try Sailing session and has grown from strength to strength since.
While the Lakers Partnership with Bray SC may be the most obvious aspect of the club's Inclusion in Sport programme, it is only one part of it. The Club regularly opens its doors to participants of varying ability levels as part of our Junior Training programme, which takes place over an eleven-week period from the middle of June to the end of August. The Club also welcomes adult members of all ability levels to partake in weekly training and racing activities. Try Sailing courses in conjunction with Wicklow Sports and Recreation Partnership have also been run over the last couple of years, which have seen some participants join as club members following their course. Over the years, the Club's efforts to make sailing as inclusive as possible have been acknowledged by awards (Irish Sailing Inclusion Award and CARA Inclusion Sports Club Finalist) and Bray Sailing Club is now regarded nationally as a leader in Inclusion Sailing in Ireland.
The Club has invested much time and resources into their evolving and expanding Inclusion in Sport programme over the last number of years and now has two volunteer Inclusion Officers in place to organise, oversee, and plan the activities for the season. The club now owns two Hansa 303's, as well as having four members with their own personal Hansa boats. A number of BSC members have gone on to represent the Club at national competitions and one has even flown the Irish flag on the international stage.
The Club also has a dedicated group of Instructors, named the 'Hansa Crew', who facilitate the launch, recovery, and sailing, as needed of these boats. BSC Inclusion Officer, Anna Cloney, explains that "the Club operates a 'participant first' focus for all of our activities. This means that we cater to the specific needs of our participants and work with them and what they are comfortable with. There is good communication between the Instructors and participants so that participants are empowered to do as much as they can and the Instructors will help as needed". The Club is currently looking for a Hawk 20 keelboat to further expand their inclusion fleet.
The club-wide spirit of Inclusion in Bray SC is further evidenced by many Club members volunteering for Irish Sailing's Watersports Inclusion Games each year since 2018. The Irish Sailing Watersports Inclusion games is a national event for people with physical, sensory, intellectual, and learning disabilities and gives participants the chance to take part in a wide range of water activities, including sailing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle-boarding, rowing, surfing, water skiing, and powerboating. The volunteer team from Bray played a major part in running the sailing aspect of previous games in Galway, Kinsale, and Dromineer and are now looking forward to assisting at the games this coming weekend in Wexford.
Last updated 15:17 on 28 November 2023