Mylor Sailing School has taken the first steps on a long road to develop one of Cornwall’s first specialist sailing facilities for the disabled.
Mylor Sailability, which opened part-time in May, has received more than £20,000 for equipment and running costs from various local and national bodies.
The new company, a charitable arm of Mylor Sailing School, has received £4,300 in start-up and project running costs – £3,000 from the West Cornwall Youth Trust and £1,300 from Cornwall Sports Partnership’s Sportivate fund.
A supporter of the charity donated an old punt with an outboard, which is due to be over-hauled by Falmouth Marine School students as a project.
It has also received support from a specialist boat maker, the Wheelyboat Trust, which designs, manufacture and raises funds for disabled projects.
The company has agreed to fund 75 per cent of a new boat design costing £24,000 for the charity.
“The motor boats are especially designed to take wheelchairs, also allowing the wheelchair user to drive,” said owner Tracey Boyne.
“Mylor Sailability is a project which we are very pleased to support because of what they plan to do.”
Mylor Yacht Harbour’s owner Roger Graffy has also been working with the charity in securing planning permission from Cornwall Council to build a classroom on the Admiralty Quay in the harbour. It also wants to build a section of pontoon by the sailing school in Mylor to help with launching and landing, plus a hoist to help wheelchair users – who cannot sit unaided – in and out of boats.
The recent support has been welcomed by Ms Boyne who suffered a number of funding set-backs with the project.
“There have been some highs and lows recently as bids for public funding can often bring,” she said.
“We applied for two large Sport England Funding Streams totalling £120,000, but sadly both were turned down.
“It was a great disappointment not to get any of the funding but somehow the knock-backs make me more determined.
“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions but this recent support is good news for Mylor Sailability.”
The school is hoping to start running part-time in May.
“It’s been a lot of hard work but it should be fantastic once we are up and running,” said the sailing school owner.