“So good that you want to go back!” was the exclamation as ENABLE Scotland finished their five day voyage on the beautiful West coast with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland. Eight excited young people set sail on the 8th May as part of the “CashBack for Communities” project, visiting Rhu, Largs and Tarbert before returning the James Watt Dock in Greenock exhausted yet beaming!
The young people threw themselves into the experience and worked hard to achieve the goals they set themselves. One crew member said that steering the 72ft yacht was a high light for many of the young people and commented that one of the best parts of the voyage was “our small team working together”. The crew were proud to say that they learnt to “overcome their fears” and “that you don’t need a phone to talk to people”.
The weather was kind for the first-time sailors as they took on all the challenges of sailing Alba Venturer. They learned to navigate and steer the boat, hoist and drop the sails, tie knots and cook for the whole crew whilst sailing almost 106 nautical miles
All crew members worked towards gaining the Royal Yachting Association’s Start Yachting Level 1 Award, and took the opportunity to complete Level 3 SQA qualifications in Numeracy, Communications, Problem Solving and Working with Others.
OYT Scotland’s “On Course with CashBack” project is transforming 288 young people’s lives over three years thanks to an award from the “CashBack for Communities” scheme – the Scottish Government’s proceeds of crime fund. Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said: “Through CashBack we are supporting many of Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people to reach their full potential in life, helping them to learn new skills, boost their confidence and develop as responsible citizens.”
ENABLE Scotland is “a charitable organisation founded in 1954 by the parents of children who have learning disabilities in order to ensure that people who have learning disabilities have the same choices and opportunities in life as everyone else.”
Also taking part in the voyage were two group leaders Janet Apperley and Nicola Gallacher. Janet and Nicola work with young people in schools across Ayrshire and Glasgow supporting them to develop employability skills. The young people worked extremely hard over the week and Janet and Nicola were very impressed with the way they came together to complete tasks and supported each other through the more difficult parts of the voyage. All of the young people on board gained invaluable skills which will be easily transferred to the world of work. “We are extremely proud of the young people and can’t thank OYT Scotland staff enough for their support in encouraging us all to get the most out of the week. We can’t wait to do it again!”
Nick Fleming, Chief Executive of OYT Scotland said: “We are excited to have young people from ENABLE Scotland as part of the CashBack for Communities funding. OYT Scotland voyages offer young people a life changing opportunity, giving them a chance to take part in teamwork and leadership roles. These are transferable skills that can be used in other areas of their lives. This programme aims to develop young people and the group taking part in this voyage have demonstrated that it has been a success. Our highly trained sea-staff (both professionals and volunteers) are able to get the best from each individual. The combination of engaged young people and focused sea-staff means that these young people can reach goals that they never thought possible, and giving them a new outlook on life”.
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, OYT Scotland completed 55 voyages with 552 young people in 2016.