Inclusive Sailing for All in 2020

On Saturday 14th March,  Milton Keynes Sailing Club welcomed our local MP,  Mayor,  MK Councillors and Parish Councillors along with the Parks Trust and the team behind MK20in20 to this amazing Watersports facility and Lake.

With Milton Keynes being named European City of Sport 2020, the #MK20in20 team have declared March as the month of Watersports in Milton Keynes.  So this was a great opportunity for the sailing club in Caldecotte to showcase their facilities, and give a taste of sailing to their honored guests.  The club welcomed Iain Stewart MP,  The Mayor of Milton Keynes, Cllr. Sam Crooks,  MK Councillor David Hopkins, Lesley Sung and Mandy Taylor from Walton Community Council,  Julie Dawes from the Parks Trust, and the Council team promoting the MK20in20 program.   Everyone was up for going out in the sailing boats, and luckily the weather was kind enough to stay dry and deliver just the right amount of wind.

“There is a popular misconception that sailing is for the rich and exclusive, and this couldn’t be further from the truth”Brian Naylor from MKSC, explained to the guests.  “Sailing is probably one of the most inclusive and accessible sports in Milton Keynes.  It is a sport where age, gender, ability or disability and even income do not matter, allowing sailors from all walks of life to enjoy and compete together on the same level.  Memberships at the club cost from just over £1/week, which means that you can get an annual membership for less than the price of a couple of hours of dinghy hire at a commercial operation.”  The club is entirely run by volunteers as a not-for-profit organisation, passionate about enjoying sailing and encouraging others to sail in Milton Keynes.

Tim Harpin, Chair of MK Sailability explained how the Milton Keynes Sailing Club and MK Sailability work together to welcome sailors with physical disabilities and learning difficulties, and of any age, to get out on the water.  “Imagine the thrill of sailing for people who can feel and hear but have no sight, or of sailing a boat at speed even though they can’t walk, or of joining in a sport where deafness doesn’t matter.”   Sarah Glavin, Chief Sailing Instructor at Milton Keynes Sailing Club, described how the sailing club run regular training in May and July to take beginners and put them through the RYA certified training to become confident dinghy sailors.  We take juniors from the age of 8 or 9 through to 17,  running regular weekend sessions throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn.  It is amazing to see how they develop, how their confidence grows, and the life skills they develop.”

Cllr. David Hopkins said, “I thoroughly enjoyed going out onto the lake and hearing about the history and background to the Sailing Club.”

“I had a wonderful time – thank you for inviting me. Mayor of Milton Keynes, Cllr. Sam Crooks

“Thank you for hosting Iain and myself, we both had a great time.”  Iain Stewart MP, and Adam Rolfe Parliamentary Assistant

“Overall, it was a very successful day”, explained Brian Naylor.  “Our objective was several fold.  Firstly to showcase the amazing facilities we have at Caldecotte Lake, and i think we did that.  Secondly, to explain how inclusive and accessible Sailing is, and how it can equip people with life skills and build their confidence.  And thirdly, to get our guests out on to the water in our training boats, experience sailing for real – and keep everyone warm and dry.   Judging by the smiles on their faces, I believe everyone enjoyed their sailing, and we may even have a few converts to sailing.”

The training courses at MKSC are filling up quickly, so if you want to learn to sail in 2020, check out the training schedule and how to apply on the MKSC website at: https://mksc.org.uk/training/training-schedule

Thank you all to our volunteers and supporters for your time.  Watch out for the video of the event coming up from the team at MK Council #MK20in20