Boat school launches for disabled children

Boat school launches for disabled children

Lucy Golding

Boat school launches for disabled children

Messing about on the river will soon be easier for disabled children as a specialist watersports school opens at Bisham Abbey.

From May, children with physical or mental disabilities can try their hand at a variety of watersports thanks to a new scheme named 'Boatability' due to run from May through to September.

Boatability is a joint venture between The Rivertime Boat Trust and Bisham Abbey's sailing school in Bisham Village.

The sessions will first set out to teach children the basics of bell boating as a way for them to get used to the water, before developing their skills with activities including dingy sailing, rafting, powerboating and kayaking.

Organisers say they expect to teach an estimated 400 children this year alone.

A total of 24 children will take part in each session which will be open exclusively for those who are disabled.

Simon Davis, a trustee and founder of the Rivertime Boat Trust said:

"It is very exciting.

"The staff at Boatability are very experienced and it is wonderful they can do this for us"

"We are very lucky."

The scheme is now searching for sponsors who can help fund the project, which includes purchasing two bell boats expected to cost a total of £25,000.

Peter May, head of Boatability at Bisham Abbey said: "It is a first easy introduction to watersports in a safe and controlled environment."

The Rivertime Boat Trust was set up in 2006 and is a charity which provides disabled-friendly boat trips on a vessel equipped with a ramp and lift along the Thames between Windsor and Oxford.

Boatability will hold an open day on Wednesday, April 23.

Call Peter May on 01628 474960 for information.

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