DM Thomas Foundation for Young People has awarded a grant of £9,500 to provide specialist equipment for young people with learning or physical disabilities to learn to sail with The Island Trust.

DM Thomas Foundation for Young People is a charity committed to transforming the lives of sick, disabled and disadvantaged young people in communities across the UK. By providing specialist equipment and facilities, important training and support, and vital care, the Foundation works to improve the education, health and well being for young people to achieve their full potential.

The Foundation’s grant will provide a tender boat and outboard motor to be used with the Trust’s sailing boats as well as lifejackets and waterproof clothing for young people to wear whilst sailing. This equipment will help create more opportunities for young people with learning or physical disabilities to take part in sailing activities. Voyages, which set off from Plymouth, are tailored specifically to the needs of each young person to ensure the best possible learning experience. As each group of young people learns to sail, they work together as a crew and build their communication, social and cooperation skills. Sailing the boats themselves, with guidance from staff, also inspires a sense of responsibility and achievement which helps to increase their independence and self-esteem. As many of the young people travel from across the UK for the sailing, overnight voyages maximise learning opportunities and help young people to also develop key life skills such as cooking, cleaning and planning.

Simon Sheehan, Director of DM Thomas Foundation for Young People said: “By providing specialist sailing equipment, we are continuing to support young people with disabilities to learn new skills and increase their confidence. From new friendships and growing independence to discovering a passion for the sea or a possible career path, sailing helps young people to widen their horizons and fulfil their potential.”

Richard (Dick) Lloyd MBE, Founder and Trustee of The Island Trust said: “We are immensely grateful for the support of DM Thomas Foundation for Young People. Their generosity will enable us to ensure that we continue to provide the sail training and equipment required to support the many disadvantaged and disabled young people who sail with us annually. A larger tender will be particularly useful for those who have mobility issues.”