Otley Sailing Club secures £50,000 in new funds

Wharfedale Observer: Otley Sailing Club, which has received a grant to improve its facilities Otley Sailing Club, which has received a grant to improve its facilities

An award-winning Wharfe-dale sailing club is celebrating winning a £50,000 award to improve its facilities.

Otley Sailing Club has secured the Olympic legacy funding from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund.

The club’s groundbreaking Sailability work to train and enable people with disabilities to sail on Weston Water earned it a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service last year.

It will use the money to make extensive alterations to its clubhouse so that it is even more accessible for disabled sailors.

The club’s Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Sailability co-ordinator Peter Fox said: “The award is fantastic news for the club.

“We will be creating better disabled facilities and integrating them into the entire clubhouse.

“We are already an RYA Sailability Centre of Excellence and we plan to build upon our 25 years of experience to make our sailing centre as inclusive as possible.”

Otley’s MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) added: “I am extremely pleased that Otley Sailing Club is going to benefit from Olympic legacy funding.

“The award is great news for the inclusivity of the sport of sailing and the improved facilities will build on the club’s successful Sail Free programme and maintain its proud history.”

The club has built up a fleet of specialist dinghies and other craft since its Sail Free programme was started by Norman Stephens in 1989.

The scheme – which has also earned the club a visit from Princess Anne – became affiliated with the RYA’s Sailability programme in 1995, and now helps dozens of young people with disabilities to sail each week.

Hailing the new award, chairman of the RYA Yorkshire and Hunberside Region, David Staniforth, said: “I am delighted to see that Otley Sailing Club has been successful with the Inspired Facilities application.

“These new and refurbished facilities will be great for sailing in the region and will allow many more people to take part in the sport.

“I would also like to congratulate all the volunteers on their hard work and success in making this happen.”

Sport England’s chairman Nick Bitel, meanwhile, said the organisation was looking forward to supporting more clubs in the region who are working to boost interest at grassroots level.

To find out more about Otley Sailing Club, visit otleysailingclub.org.uk.

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