One of our beneficiaries, Otley Sailing Club, has been nominated for the RYA Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year, organised to recognise the outstanding achievement of sailing clubs across the UK.
For the first time, the Royal Yachting Assocation Awards Panel have selected a finalist for each of the RYA Regions and Home Countries, as well as two 'wild card' entries. During this shortlisting stage, the Panel provided five clubs with special recognition, where it was felt they had demonstrated an outstanding level in one particular area of the five core values for any successful sailing club: Innovation, Inclusivity, Facilities, Membership, and Communication.
Otley Sailing Club (OSC) is an RYA accredited Sailability Centre of Excellence and registered charity, running sailing sessions for the severely disabled and people with complex learning difficulties – particularly children and young adults through their ‘Sailfree’ scheme. The club are true ambassadors for the Sailability programme and have been accredited with the Inclusivity award this year.
OSC is run entirely by volunteers and have a dedicated team of over 30 people involved in running the Sailfree scheme. Established 25 years ago, today they run disabled sailing sessions four days per week, with more than 2,700 sessions held in the last year.
The club is committed to bringing the benefits of sailing to as many people as possible, regularly opening their doors and holding family fun days, junior sessions, club trips and social events. Through successfully running programmes like RYA OnBoard and Push the Boat Out the club are determined to integrate and promote sailing in the local community and have increased membership, attracting new volunteers.
The club has also raised funds to buy two further Hansa 303 Access boats this year, adding to the now 11-strong fleet, resutling in them being able to offer even more Sailfree sessions. They have also secured further funding to upgrade the facilities at the club, which will enable them to offer sailing to the visually impaired in the very near future.
An inspiration to many when it comes to working with disabled sailors, OSC continue to be a leader in the field of sailing for the disabled. With waiting lists for local schools and community groups, the club are committed to increasing capacity and making full use of their facilities and equipment.
There are just eleven finalists for Club of the Year, and the winning club is voted for by the public. Otley Sailing Club need your vote to bring home the prize and celebrate this fantastic organisation!
Voting is now open and closes on 28th January.