Wetwheels South West Launches
Earlier this week I was invited to photograph the launch of Wetwheels South West.
Wetwheels provides the opportunity for all disabled people, including those with profound and complex disabilities, to access the sea in a safe, stimulating and rewarding way on board specially-built, fully-accessible powerboats.
And I can tell you, it is amazing! Both the boat and the crew. Having previously worked with people with spinal injuries I know how important and opportunity like this is.
With all of the change this year and my wedding bookings being rearranged, it’s been exciting to take a different approach to my photography. Meeting the people involved and hearing their stories has been heartwarming, as well as working alongside everyone that made it possible. Thankyou to all at Wetwheels, Eight Wire and Louise Midgley Communications.
Anyone wishing to learn more about Wetwheels Southwest, their work, fundraising or how to participate can visit Wetwheels Foundation, or contact David Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org / 07889275907.
More details from the press release can be found below.
Wetwheels South West Takes To The Seas
The world of powerboating is opening up to thousands of disabled people in the Westcountry with the launch of Wetwheels South West, a custom built, fully accessible, £200,000 catamaran in Falmouth, Cornwall.
Commodore Jamie Miller CBE DL RN named the boat at Falmouth Visitors’ Marina – opening the door to exhilarating water-borne adventures for many people who have never been out to sea or even dreamed it might be possible.
Wetwheels was founded in 2011 by Geoff Holt MBE – a lifelong sailor who was paralysed in a swimming accident in 1984 – whose passionate mission has been to give people of all ages, including those with the most profound disabilities, the opportunity to get out on the water in an exhilarating, safe, stimulating and rewarding way.
With the support of donors and partners, the charity provides barrier-free water-based adventures for disabled people on board specially designed boats with specialist staff who ensure each person can share experiences, challenge their self-perceptions, extend their horizons, and discover new opportunities.
“This is a very proud moment for me personally and a testament to the hard work of everyone involved in Wetwheels” says Geoff Holt. “When I founded Wetwheels, it was with the aim to make the sea accessible to all disabilities, including those most excluded. It had to be a highly sensory experience and I designed the boat with a ramp to the wheel so, for a moment in time, anyone with a disability could be captain of a powerboat. I am delighted we now have 6 boats, collectively taking in excess of 7,000 people a year to sea. Only out there does the real magic happen, you leave your disability on the dock and have a truly memorable adventure on the ocean.”
Beneficiaries are active participants, rather than simply passengers, with the opportunity to steer the vessel and learn seamanship, alongside their peers, friends, and families. The experience is truly inclusive helping to improve aspirations and increase confidence.
The Falmouth-based Wetwheels South West is the latest of six vessels based around the coast with the first launching in the Solent, then Jersey, Hamble, Whitby and Dover. She was funded in part by private donors but mostly by Sport England who has recognised the innovative work Wetwheels is doing to get disabled active, particularly those with more complex needs.
“Sport and physical activity makes us happier and healthier and it is essential for our wellbeing,” said Adam Blaze, Strategic Lead for Disability, Sport England. “It has the power to make life better, which is why we champion it so everyone can enjoy the benefit of being active.
“National Lottery players raise £30 million every week for good causes in the UK, and it is this funding that has made our unique partnership with the Wetwheels Foundation to get more disabled people active through life changing experiences on the sea possible. Fully accessible powerboats mean everyone can be active in a fun and safe way, learn new skills and become more confident.”