Peterborough Sailability has received a prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award that can be given to volunteer groups in the UK.

The charity was founded in 2005 when a group of local Rotary Club members decided to offer sailing for people with a registered disability. The group operates at Ferry Meadows in Nene Park.

Their mission is to help disabled people to enjoy sailing and to feel independent. The club aims to provide social friendship, freedom afloat and the chance to learn new skills too.

13 years since the founding, Peterborough Sailability have 60 Volunteers, 8 Challenger single-seater boats, 3 multi-seat sailing boats, and one Hansa Access dinghy. They operate 2 full days a week, and regularly have 80-100 disabled people out on the water over a single day.

Secretary James Hopgood said: “We are very proud indeed to have achieved this Award. Our volunteers give their time, energy and enthusiasm to bring happiness and a sense of independence to more than 200 people with a disability from our city. Whether the sailors can learn to sail independently or not, they always return to shore with big smiles on their faces, and are keen to come back time and again – which just makes it all worthwhile for us as volunteers.”

Jane and David Martin said: “Our daughter gets a real sense of achievement, social interaction and pure pleasure from her sailing.  For Sam, ‘summer’ means sailing at Sailability.”

The group offer joint sessions with the Vivacity adapted cycling scheme, and work in close co-operation with Nene Outdoors and Nene Park Trust – to give all participants the best possible experience.

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