On the 3rd July 2017, ten enthusiastic young carers from Sense Scotland and their two group leaders set sail with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland. Their mission: to have fun!
And fun, they had! A twelve year old sailor summed up the experience – saying “I had the most wonderful time sailing and would love to do it again in the future!” The young people spent their days learning important knots, hoisting sails, steering the 70ft yacht Alba Venturer and cooking for the whole crew. As well as experiencing an adventure of a life-time, all of the young sailors gained their RYA Start Yachting certificate – proof of their hard work and effort throughout their five day trip.
The crew set off from Oban and returned to the beautiful Kyle of Lochalsh. Glorious weather meant that the young crew were able to enjoy stunning views of the West Coast of Scotland and spot wildlife out on the water. One young person described her favourite parts “I enjoyed the scenery and spotting wildlife most and also enjoyed learning about knots and the games that everyone played in the evenings” The trip gave each of the ten young people a break from their day-to-day care duties and the opportunity to meet and become friends with other young people in similar circumstances.
This was the fourth of nine voyages that are part of OYT Scotland’s CORAL project. The CORAL (Carers on Residential Adventurous Learning) project, is partially funded by the Big Lottery’s “Medium Grants for Improving Lives” award.
Nick Fleming, Chief Executive of Ocean Youth Trust Scotland said: “We have had the opportunity to work with young carers groups as part our “CashBack for Communities” funding previously and we realised that there was a need for a specific project for these deserving young people. We are over the moon that the Big Lottery agreed to help fund nine young carers groups from across Scotland. These voyages give them a chance to spend time with other young carers and get some respite from their caring duties.”
Sense Scotland is a Glasgow based charity formalised in 1985 that supports people with disabilities and their families from all over Scotland. The charity initially started as a small group of families pressing for services for their children, who were affected by deaf blindness, many due to maternal rubella. Now the group supports thousands of disabled people and their families, in thousands of projects and services, throughout Scotland including young carers.
One parent said “As a mum I can say I thought this experience was so good for all the children mainly because they had to work together and be without iPad’s and phones. My son mentioned that they all played games in the evening which was lovely to hear as unfortunately us as a family don’t really have much time on our hands to do these things regularly.”
Over the past 50 years, Greenock-based OYT Scotland has grown to become one of the leading sail training charities in the world. With two sail training vessels, Alba Explorer and Alba Venturer, Ocean Youth Trust Scotland completed 55 voyages with 552 young people in 2016 alone.
For more information about OYT Scotland go to www.oytscotland.org.uk
For more information about Sense Scotland go to www.sensescotland.org.uk
For more information on the Big Lottery’s Medium Grants for Improving Lives scheme go to
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