People with disabilities get a taste of life at sea

(Last Updated On: January 17, 2020)

People with a range of disabilities will be able to experience life on the waves with a Torquay-based group, thanks to funding voted for by Tesco customers.

The Disabled Sailing Association is a non-profit organisation run by disabled people for disabled people. The group has shown hundreds of disabled people the joys of life at sea aboard its traditional sailing boats the Freedom and Free Spirit.

Those who have benefitted include people who are blind, deaf-blind, wheelchair users and those with learning difficulties and chronic illnesses.

Now, thanks to a grant of £2,000 grant from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme, even more people and their carers will be able to sail the waves aboard the two vessels.

“We’re very grateful to Tesco for this grant,” said David Musgrove, the group’s president. “It will make a big difference to the people who sail with us.

“We aim to give people with a disability, as well as their family and carers, the opportunity to enjoy a safe and pleasurable experience of seagoing sailing.

“We have Disability Awareness-trained volunteers, skippers and crew, working with our disabled members to enabling them to participate as fully as possible in a seagoing sailing experience.”

He added that the money will also allow some disabled people to develop their sailing skills.

“We encourage and support our disabled members and volunteers to take Royal Yachting Association training courses,” said Mr Musgrove. “Several disabled members have already achieved this and found it beneficial. The funding from Tesco means more people will be able to do the same.”

Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme is run in partnership with environmental organisation Groundwork. Tesco customers can use a blue token to vote for one of three different recipients for Bags of Help grants each time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions are awarded funding.

Since launching in 2015, the Tesco Bags of Help scheme has provided more than £80million to more than 27,000 local community projects.

Rhodri Evans, Tesco’s communications manager for the South West, said: “The Disabled Sailing Association is doing some wonderful work, ensuring that people with disabilities can enjoy the same experience of sailing that so many people in Devon enjoy. Their work is making a real difference in people’s lives, and we are delighted to be able to support them.”

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s national chief executive, said: “Bags of Help continues to enable local communities to improve the local spaces and places that matter to them. The diversity of projects that are being funded shows that local communities have a passion to create something great in their area. We are pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to help local communities thrive.”

To discover more about Bags of Help, visit

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