Poole Sailability

The volunteer team at Poole Sailability use their fleet of four sailboats to provide sailing activities in Poole Harbour and the surrounding area for people with a wide range of disabilities, including local school children from SEN Schools. They also have a member’s club to ensure that those with a keener interest in sailing are able to keep up their hobby in a safe and inclusive environment.

February 2024

Harry's Hat Logo

Poole Sailability’s mission is to provide and assist in the provision of water-based activities in Poole Harbour and the surrounding area for people with disabilities, in the interest of social welfare and with the object of improving the condition of their lives.

They have a fleet of four 20ft Hawk sailboats, each accommodating three sailors and two crew. Through their free-to-use outreach programme, those with physical, learning and impaired health disabilities can enjoy sailing in a friendly club environment on the beautiful waters of Poole Harbour.

More than 1 in 8 people in Dorset have a disability that limits their daily activities and Poole Sailability has welcomed groups from a wide range of other organisations and support groups including the Bowra Foundation, Youth Cancer Trust, Dorset Blind, Young Carers and others.

In a new initiative in 2022, Poole Sailability now take pupils, aged from 9-17 years, from two local SEN (special educational needs) schools for weekly sessions during their summer terms. This is proving very successful with many attendees receiving the RYA Sailability Entry and Bronze level certificates. One of the schools is looking to build the activity into its core programme because of the positive benefit they see on the kids who attend.

In addition, there are two Member’s Club sailing sessions per week for individuals who want to enjoy sailing more regularly and to develop their skills under supervision in the safety of Poole harbour. They include people with autism, visual impairment, and other physical, mental health and learning disabilities. In total they have just over 1,000 “seats” available for people to sail over a full season and demand for places is high.

Poole Sailability is 100% volunteer run and funded by grants, donations and membership fees, and they will use the funds from the John Good Group to continue their school and outreach sessions. Recently, the club has faced increasing costs to remain in their boatyard, and without extra funding would have to consider selling one of their boats, which would reduce the number of people they can help.

“We are delighted to be on your shortlist for funding. It is so rewarding for our volunteers to see how people with all sorts of disabilities, both young and old, grow in confidence after helming a boat or just glow with pleasure from being out on the water in the fresh air and sunshine (hopefully!) of Poole Harbour. We reach out broadly across our local community, but there are many more who we would like to help by offering as many sessions as we can.”

Nicholas Berendt

Trustee, Poole Sailability

“It was lovely to meet Nick, who has been involved in the charity for many years. Poole Sailability is a great charity making a difference to local people with disabilities, including many regular members who sail throughout the year, local SEN school children and young carers. They are entirely volunteer-led with around 40 volunteers, and with sessions in high demand, I hope this grant will help them to keep up with the rising costs of running the organisation.”

Michelle Taft

Executive Director, Matthew Good Foundation

Latest Project Updates

February 2024

Grants for Good Finalist

Poole Sailability has become one of the top five finalists in the latest Grants for Good round, and will receive a grant between £2000 and £5000 after employees at the John Good Group have voted on their favourite causes.