Disability Sailing on Lough Erne

Published: 4th July 2017

Sailability Launch

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is working in partnership with the Public Health Agency, Disability Sport NI, Sport NI and Lough Erne Yacht Club to provide sailing opportunities on Lough Erne for people with disabilities through the Sailability Project.

Launching the Sailability Project, Councillor Stephen McCann, Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said “This is an excellent initiative and one which will help provide more opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in sporting activities in the district. Sailing is a very specialised sport and it can be difficult for newcomers to get involved especially for those with a disability. I am confident that this project will inspire our athletes, young and old to strive for success and I am delighted that the Council is a partner in this very positive initiative”.

Four specialised and adapted sailing boats have been purchased through the Sailability project and are available for use at Lough Erne Yacht Club. The boats are also ideal for use by older people.

The provision of four disability sailing boats is the first stage of an overall plan to improve disabled facilities and opportunities at Lough Erne Yacht Club. Vice Commodore of the Yacht Club, Tom Bailey, said “I am pleased to confirm that the Club is making a significant investment in the provision of a floating jetty to facilitate disabled sailing on Lower Lough Erne. It is the first time that many people within the area, who have sailed on the lough in the past, will have an opportunity to participate in sailing again. The ability to sit in a specially designed boat without the fear of overturning is wonderful. Our Club members welcome this development especially coming up to the bicentenary of the foundation of the club in 2018”.

The project is led by Disability Sport NI and is part of a wider ‘Active Living: No Limits 2021 Action Plan’. The aim of this initiative is to improve the health and well-being of people with disabilities in Northern Ireland through participation in sport and active recreation.

Commenting on the project, Aubrey Bingham, Disability Sport NI, said “It has been a pleasure to work with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Lough Erne Yacht Club and all the other partners for improving access and providing opportunities for people with disabilities to get involved in water sports and we look forward to seeing the project thrive over the coming months and years. We are thankful of the financial support received from the Department for Communities via Sport Northern Ireland to help fund the project”.

Sport Northern Ireland Board Member Siobhan Weir added “Sport Northern Ireland warmly welcomes the launch of this new Water Sports Hub, and is proud to be working with our delivery partners to implement the Active Living: No Limits Action Plan, which aims to increase participation in sport and physical activity by people with a disability. We are delighted to be supporting Lough Erne Yacht Club’s work to provide inclusive opportunities for local people to enjoy not only our outstanding local waterways, but also the physical, mental and social benefits of an active lifestyle.”
The Public Health Agency, through their Healthy Towns scheme, have also supported the project. Fiona McCann from the Public Health Agency said “Access to activities for people with a disability is very important and working in partnership with the council and sporting bodies, ensures that there are increased opportunities for participation and inclusion.”
For more information on how you can get involved in the sailing programmes please contact Tom Bailey at Lough Erne Yacht Club by telephone on 028 6638 8432, email info@leyc.net or look on the club website www.leyc.net. To enquire about sailing opportunities generally within the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area please contact Imelda McCarron by calling 0300 303 1777 or email Imelda.mccarron@fermanaghomagh.com

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