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					                                      LIFELIN E
                                        NEWS FROM THE WOOLVERSTONE PROJECT
                                                                                                                      Spring 2009

   T    he Woolverstone Project
        celebrates 15 highly successful
   years of getting disabled people
   afloat this year. Over that time the
   number of regular sailors has grown
   to 200 and the number of “bums on
   seats” tops 850 a year

  “We are planning to extend the
   number of days and hours we                 Royal in her capacity of Patron of                 will be dedicated race-coaching
   operate on the water and hope               Sailability. In 2002, we won the                   days and at Woolverstone there
   to reach 1000 before the end of             Ben Ainslie Trophy at the Access                   will be seamanship and passage-
   the coming summer” says Johnty              Dinghy championship – and went                     planning for the more experienced
   Dickinson., the senior trustee.             on to win it twice more. In 2003,                  sailors. We are also taking delivery
                                               we sent six Access dinghies to the                 of a new Access .303 and a
   Johnty, who was awarded the MBE             international championship in                      Challenger trimaran in the spring.
   for his services to disabled sailing, is    Geneva – and came back with the
   the longest serving of The Project’s        silverware. We also were given the
   three trustees. The others are              Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award
   retired TV producer Hugh de Las             that year. More recently, one of our
   Casas and past Commodore of the             young sailors, Sam Honour – who
   Royal Harwich Yacht club, Leigh             is now an instructor himself – was
   Baxter. The Patron is well known            the Holder of the RYA Eastern
   yachtsman and broadcaster, Paul             Region Young Sailor of the Year
   Heiney.                                     Award and Dave Webb, our bo’sun,
                                               was given a Lifetime’s Achievement
  “Looking back, we’ve achieved some           Award by the RYA.
   remarkable landmarks: In ’97 we
   won our first Sportsmatch Award,           “We couldn’t have achieved all this                  Woolverstone Project Senior Trustee,
   in ’98 we were runner up in the             without the enthusiasm of our                               Johnty Dickinson
   RYA/BMF Award and in ‘1999                  sailors and the dedication of our
   we were visited by the Princess             instructors and volunteer helpers”                  COME AND SEE US
                                               declared Johnty.
                                                                                                    We welcome any visitors on
               CONTENTS                        However, the trustees are still                         Monday mornings
   The day they tied up Johnty –
      and other training matters   page2
                                               looking very much to the future.                         after 10.00 am
   Those who have helped –                     There are plans, over the next
      volunteers and funders      page 3       three years, to respond make the                      Come and see us in action
   Centrefold spread             page 4-5      maximum possible use of the 18
                                                                                                             Go for a sail
   Meet the new Governors         page 6       boats in The Project’s fleet. There
   What do people think of us     page 6       will be extra sessions, both at                              Come and help!
   Spring dinner report            page 7      Alton Water and Woolverstone
   Focus on Woolverstone          page 8
                                               on Thursdays, Fridays and possibly                       Ring 07718 5858358
   Who’s who                      page 8
                                               Saturdays. At Alton Water there                           to check beforehand.
                                     Sailing for People with Disabilities at Woolverstone and Alton Water
Patron Paul Heiney                                                                                                      Charity No. 1046098

I  t was probably one of those ‘most
   worthwhile’ days in my life when
I joined a group of Woolverstone
                                                                                   do in case someone collapses, cuts
                                                                                   themselves, gets belted by the boom,
                                                                                   electrocutes themselves or nearly
Project volunteers and instructors                                                 drowns, but not how to deliver a baby!
on a one- day RYA first aid course.
                                                                                    NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN.
Liz Feibusch, a senior instructor at
Orford Sailing Club, and a lifelong                                                Nobody who comes to the Woolverstone
sailor, brought in those all important                                             Project is expected to stand still.
little tips applicable to boating.                                                 Whether you are a disabled novice
                                                                                   sailor or a volunteer helper, everybody is
“Prevention is better than cure,”                                                  expected to improve their skills.
 declared Liz Feibusch. “As a
 skipper or instructor, your first                                                 For sailors, there is the whole gamut of
 duty of care to your crew is                                                      RYA sailing certificates to gain. This
 reduce the level of risk. You won’t                                               spring, while some of the younger
 remove it all together but if you                                                 novices are working toward their first
 just apply common sense you                                                       Bronze Disabled Sailor’s award, six
 reduce the chances of accidents,                                                  of the most experienced instructors
 injury or illness.                           Liz Feibush Straps up Johnty         will be taking keelboat endorsements
                                         All first-aiders learn to use the         to their instructors’ certificates and
“It’s the same with dealing with         simple A,B,C – Airway (is it clear,       volunteer shore-based people will
 an incident where someone is ill        or clear it and maintain it open).        begin work on their level 2 powerboat
 or injured, it’s common sense and       Breathing, (if they aren’t help them      qualification.
 accurate diagnosis.” It always pays     to breath by breathing for them),
 to know the medical history of your     and Circulation (keep the heart           Meanwhile, the weekend before Garth
 crew in advance. Chronic fatigue        pumping to ensure blood). Look            Cooper took his First Aid course,
 can be a problem, especially among      before you leap is nowhere so true        eight volunteers, new and experienced,
 disabled people or MS or ME             as with first aid.                        gave up their weekend to undertake
 sufferers” advised Liz.                                                           disability awareness training at
                                         “You must put your own safety             Levington, given by Debbie Blachford
 “Ensure your crews have the proper       first,” said Liz. “Always wear barrier   of RYA Sailability.
amount of clothing. Even on a hot         gloves – rubber not latex, it seems a
summer’s day the air crossing a           lot of people have allergies to latex.   Helping to run The Woolverstone
boat’s deck will be several degrees      Wear a mask if there’s a lot of blood     Project calls for a wide variety of skills
cooler than that ashore or in the         and use breathing aids when doing        and there are always opportunities
marina. Hypothermia is a condition        rescue breaths. Don’t put your- self     to learn new skills. Volunteers have
that needs careful handling.              in a position where you yourself         recently learnt everything from how
                                          become a casualty.”                      to drive a garden tractor to the finer
“Seasickness can be a nightmare.                                                   points of volunteers and the law!
Apart from the problems of               “If someone’s bleeding a lot or has
 dehydration the sufferer needs           lost of lot of blood, keep them as
 to keep their dry food intake up,        relaxed as possible, still and quiet.
 reduce the intake of liquids, and       Activity of any kind will raise the
 keep them warm.                          heart rate and they’ll just pump
                                          even more blood out. Shock can
Jewellery and sailing do not go           be fatal. Lay them down, raise their
together, she said. “Remove               legs, loosen tight clothing and
all rings, bracelets, ear rings or        reassure them and keep them warm,”
pendants. If you have long hair,          she added.                               Garth Cooper recently went on a first aid
tie it up and wear a hat. There are                                                  course organised by The Woolverstone
numerous instances of people             So, after a highly intensive nine-hour     Project. To his great surprise he found
getting their hands trapped in           course do I remember everything?           that had passed and has a certificate to
winches or snagged in rigging            No, but I have an excellent ‘bible’ to                     prove it!
because of rings” she declared.          refer to. I do however, know what to

2                                                                                                                Spring 2009
                                                          NEWS FROM THE WOOLVERSTONE PROJECT

                  THOSE WHO HAVE HELPED
                                                                                To the many people who have given
                                                                                us money – and to those who will
                                                                                in the future – our deepest thanks.
                                                           Trustees receive a   Just look at some of the faces in the
                                                            welcome cheque      centrefold spread.
                                                          from The Harwich
                                                             Rotary Club.               The volunteers

                                                                                People are the lifeblood of the
                                                                                Project. John Wilkinson, one of the
                                                                                many Rotarians who regularly gives
                                                                                time to help with the boats and the
          The funders                                                           sailors, stands up at Rotary dinners
                                                                                and says “I’ll tell you quite honestly,
It’s a fact that, however much           £35,000 a year to keep going           this is one of the most rewarding
energy people have put into the                                                 and worthwhile projects I have ever
Woolverstone Project, nothing               973 bums in seats a year            seen”.
at all would have happened if our
funders and sponsors had not                   219 people benefit               More than 50 people give time on a
backed their beliefs with generosity                                            regular basis – and they do it simply
and given us money to keep the                    55 Volunteers                 because it is fun. And volunteers
show on the road.                                                               offer a wide range of skills – from
                                               22 paid instructors              the boat riggers and the people
If we were to name every single                                                 who help with the sailing, to the
sponsor and benefactor the list                 3 part-time jobs                Governors, the Trustees, the legal
would take us the last page of                                                  advisors and the accountants.
this newsletter. They range from         2% – cost of administration.
the extremely serious to the                                                    Nobody has estimated the
outrageously flamboyant. We all                                                 value of the time and the skills
remember the two chaps who               why a vote of confidence by the        that people give, but when the
bought a case of wine at an auction      Foundation for Sports and Arts,        accounts tell us that, for every
of promises, drank quite a lot of        by Children in Need, Lloyds TSB,       pound we spend, 98.2 pence goes
it and then sat with their arms in       Sportsmatch, the County Council        directly to the essential costs of
the air bidding against each other       and the Henry Smith Charity is         running sailing sessions – that
for a transatlantic air ticket – until   good not just for the bank balance     give a pretty good idea.
one of them dropped his arm out          but for our morale as well.
of sheer fatigue. The loser then
complained that he had not had the
opportunity to be generous enough
– and wrote us a cheque for five
hundred pounds.

If only all fundraising were that
easy! The more usual scenario is a        Volunteers are the
board of trustees who scrutinise           lifeblood of the
very carefully our work, our                    Project
intentions and our impact on the
surrounding community – and
then make their own judgement.
As the significance of the
voluntary sector grows, so people
become more careful about how
their money is spent, which is

Spring 2009                                                                                                          3

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    David his sa
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4                                                                                                         Spring 2009
                                                       NEWS FROM THE WOOLVERSTONE PROJECT
                                                                          ters   was
                                                       Ou r new h …
                                                       built in

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                              The joys
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Spring 2009                                                                             5

A    new management structure
     has been implemented over
the winter months, to take The
Woolverstone Project into the
next ten year period. The Trustees
have appointed a new board of
four active Governors, with the
aim of reducing the management
load on the Trustees. Reporting
to the Trustees, they will look
after all the strategic aspects of     Felicity Hoare is Governor in
the Project.                           charge of fund raising. She well
                                       understands the problems of            Nigel Holmes is responsible for all
A new Management Board will            disability as she had polio as a       aspects of sailing and safety. He is
have overall responsibility for day-   child. She is a past Commodore of      a retired Suffolk schoolteacher and
to-day operations including the        Aldeburgh Yacht Club.                  secretary of Suffolk Water Sports
management of the Alton Water                                                 Association.
and Woolverstone sites and liaison
with all our sailors.

The Operations Committee
will continue to oversee the
routine running of the sites and
training. The Finance Committee
will ensure the Trust remains
in a healthy financial condition
and make certain that staff and
instructors get paid! These
committees all report to the Board
of Governors. So who are these         Jo Durning is responsible for
mysterious people? They’re all         personnel matters, including child
well known to members of The           protection and governance. Her         Garth Cooper is responsible for
Woolverstone Project, having been      son Leo Capella has sailed with        external relations. He is a journalist
involved with the Trust in different   The Project for many years. She is a   and eastern regional communicator
ways for several years.                highly experienced civil servant.      for the RYA. He farms in Norfolk.

                                        WHAT THE USERS THINK:

    Every year, we give our users a    skills; body awareness. They          “When I first came to the
    feedback form, to find out if      experience being on the water         Woolverstone Project, I did
    there are areas where we can       with a different perspective of        not realise what a sense of
    improve. Here’s some of what       the environment.”                      exhilaration and pleasure I
    they said in 2008;                                     Heathside School. would gain from sailing. I have
                                                                              MS and am registered blind, but
“We have been sailing for two         “Enables Edward to sail, which he       the sailing is something new that
 years; great therapy – super boat –   loves and would not be possible        I can do and enjoy”
 friendly volunteers.”                 because he is in a wheelchair. It                         Ruth Hammond
     Leonard Cheshire – Seven Rivers. provides him with stimulation and
                                       lots of fresh air!”                   “We are very happy with everything,
“Pupils with complex learning                               Edward’s mother. especially the kind and helpful
 difficulties have experience to                                              support of the instructors.”
 develop physical co-ordination                                                                            A carer

6                                                                                                       Spring 2009
                                                           NEWS FROM THE WOOLVERSTONE PROJECT

                  SELL OUT DINNER SUCCESS
T    he Woolverstone Project annual
     spring dinner at Royal Harwich
YC was packed with sailors,
                                         audience: “In
                                         such dedicated
                                         and committed
instructors, volunteers and carers.      company my
                                         exploits and
In his annual “address to the            determination pale
nation” Johnty Dickinson told the        into insignificance.
assembled diners: “We’re proud of        When I see what
what we have achieved over the past      some of you are
15 years. We couldn’t have achieved      accomplishing,
this without the enthusiasm of our       whether as sailors
sailors and the dedication of our        or instructors,
instructors and volunteer helpers.       it makes me feel                        Top: Dave and Doreen receive
                                         very small.                             a memento from Hugh de Las
“Demand for our services is                                                                  Casas.
increasing and, to meet it, we’re        “I have no formal                      Left: Dinner organiser Frances
taking delivery of another Access        qualifications,                                     Lilley.
303 and a Challenger. We’re also         everything has                           Below: Our guests at dinner
going to open for longer; we             been learnt                            and the audience fore-gather for
are extending the hours on our           from hard and                           the evening’s entertainment at
current days and offering sailing at     sometimes lonely                              Royal Harwich YC.
Woolverstone on Fridays, as well as      experience. You
Monday to Thursday.”                     on the other                        “But, for all of us, it can be an all-
                                         hand have the support of some       consuming passion. However, as
This could be a watershed year,          incredibly talented and dedicated   with life in general we must never
he said, with a new management           people so your learning curve and   lose the element of fun – and in
structure coming into being, new         ultimate success is achieved in a   that respect I can count myself very
sources of funding tapped and a          shorter time.                       lucky,” he declared.
closer link with Rotary clubs across
the region. “We’re very grateful to
Rotary for the immense amount
of work they do for us. They are
being very generous with supplying
volunteers, as well as doing quite a
bit of fundraising,” he added.

Trustee Hugh de Las Casas then
paid tribute to the work done over
many years by recently retired
Bosun Dave Webb. Dave was Chief
Instructor with Neptune Sea School
for many years, and has looked after
the Project’s boats and facilities for
more than a decade. He says it was
something to do in his retirement!

Hugh presented Dave and his wife
Doreen with a mounted picture to
mark Dave’s decision to retire after
long involvement with the Project.

Speaking after the dinner yachting
writer Garth Cooper told the

Spring 2009                                                                                                        7

                 FOCUS ON WOOLVERSTONE
                       Project trustee speaks out at RYA Sailability conference.

A    t the autumn conference
     of RYA Sailability
at Rutland Water some
                                                                                               difficult to fund. Nobody
                                                                                              wants to know about
                                                                                              Cinderella groups – many
Foundation Sites expressed                                                                     of them residential homes
reservations about the                                                                        – because they are not
number of groups with                                                                          children and they will never
learning disabilities who                                                                     win medals, so they are not
wanted to come sailing with                                                                    attractive to sponsors. But I
them.                                                                                          think it is some of the most
                                                                                               important work we do.”
Some Sailability
representatives felt that these                                                               The Project keeps its
groups raised problems                                                                        two boats moored at
because the sailors were unlikely           out, sometimes twice a day from             Woolverstone Marina and this
ever to sail on their own and that no       Tuesday to Thursday” he said. There         work continues thanks to the
progress could be made with them.           is a constant and growing demand            constant generosity of both MDL
                                            for this kind of work, because              Ltd and The Royal Harwich Yacht
Woolverstone Project Trustee Hugh           there is mounting anecdotal                 Club, who give pontoon berths
de Las Casas disagreed with this            evidence that sailing on the river          and changing and storage facilities
sentiment and was able to tell the          is a highly therapeutic experience          respectively.
conference of the fourteen years of         for the sailors. Carers are always
experience of exactly this kind of          telling us that their charges are           There is also a partnership with
work done by the volunteers and             calmer because they respond to the          Orwell Park School, who raise
instructors at The Project.                 rhythms of the boat.”                       money to help keep the boats on
                                                                                        the water and come down every
“We have two boats, a Hawk 20 and          “This is a difficult area of our             summer to learn about the work
 a Drascombe Longboat, which go             work” he went on, “because it is            being done there.

       Paul Heiney
       Johnty Dickinson MBE                          Chairman of Governors             01473 839191
       Hugh de Las Casas                             Operations Chairman               01728 602618
       Dr Leigh Baxter                               Trustee
      Felicity Hoare                                 Fundraising
      Nigel Holmes                                   Operations and Safety
      Jo Durning                                     Personnel
      Garth Cooper                                   External Relations                01362 699195 07836 530970
      Peter Hibberd                                  Chief Instructor and Site Manager
      Shelley Nott                                   Co-ordinator                      07718 5858358
      Tony Morley                                    Treasurer
      Chris Atkin                                    Users
      Ian Parker                                     Bosun
      David Cousins                                  Racing Captain
      Geoff Holt, Kevin Curtis, Celia Waters, Tony Coe, Mervyn Jenkins, Joannie Dickinson, Elizabeth Tozer.

8                                                                                                                Spring 2009

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