In summary ...
Sailing is one of the few sports where able-bodied and disabled sailors are able to participate – and in many cases compete – on completely equal terms.
The LRYSA were one of the first organisations to introduce sailing for the disabled (in Leicestershire in 1972). As a result of our vision, disabled sailing has now developed as a regular activity all over the UK but there are still limited places to participate and we want to continue to be one of them! Our main focus today continues to be on the vulnerable members of our society.
However our governing body, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) have said that we can’t continue to operate under their rules without updated facilities. We do understand this, our facilities are shocking! we have no water or electricity to the site and we refer to our changing rooms as “chicken sheds”. The RYA are completely behind us but we need your support to keep our Charity open.
Who are we?
We are the Leicestershire Sailing Association (The LRYSA), a fully inclusive Charity founded in 1967 and run solely by unpaid but highly trained Volunteers. Our mission is to make sailing accessible to the whole community, regardless of their mental or physical abilities, age or background.
We rely on fundraising to be able to maintain the level of boats and equipment we need to safely offer our services at a very low cost or often free to our vulnerable groups (the disadvantaged, disabled and those with learning difficulties).
In December 2018 we were presented with an “Outstanding Contribution to Sport In Leicestershire” Award by Hinckley & Bosworth Council.
Find out more about us on our website www.lrysa.org.uk
Why what we do is so important
It is really difficult for the more vulnerable members of any community to access sporting activities which promotes & improves not only physical but also mental well being. We are the only RYA Sailability accredited Centre in Leicestershire, an initiative to “enable people with disabilities to take part in water activities regularly”
Our regular groups are currently autistic & severely physically disabled (children & adults), Senior Citizens (who benefit from the physical/mental side but also the social interaction)’ and “Saturday Kids Club” where under 16’s can learn to sail and then advance to the Leicestershire Race Team who compete in National Regattas.
What we want to do
The facilities on our site today are totally inadequate for all our students. Even on a warm day our sailors get cold & wet on the water or after capsizing, so even colder on most days in our UK climate! We have no services (water or electricity) to the site so we cannot offer them a hot shower.
Even more worrying are our changing facilities which currently comprise of old sheds and a portable toilet. Not ideal for the most able but shocking & undignified for some of our disabled students who sometimes need to be changed on the floor as there is no room or ability to fit a hoist. However this shows just how much they enjoy their sessions to put up with this.
We need to build a new Club House!
How this is going to happen
After a lot of hard work, we now have a long-term lease, planning permission and a project manager in place and need to raise £250,000 for the total project. We continue to fund raise and apply for funding opportunities and to-date have been pledged £90,000 of the £150,000 we require for Phase 1 (with other grant applications still awaiting decisions).
This phase will allow us to install water / electricity to the site and start with a smaller building (which we can add on to later) which will enable us to start making use of the new facilities earlier.
The LRYSA already make a huge difference to many people’s lives (young and old) but we desperately want to improve their experience and be able to extend to other groups that aren’t allowed to participate without the new facilities.
Our vision is to give our disabled students the dignity that they deserve by being able to offer properly fitted out changing rooms with disabled showers & toilets. In turn this will enable us to offer our other students a hot shower and a cuppa after being on the water all day. The Club House will also provide a warm safe environment for the parents and families of our sailors along with other local community groups (such as walkers, runners, swimmers etc)
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read this. If you need any further information then please contact us email@example.com