Laburnum Boat Club, based in Hackney, used a £750 Small Grant to fund a three-day residential on a narrowboat for 12 young people with a range of disabilities and backgrounds. Each individual gained something different from the trip, but the leaders noticed that all they all grew in confidence through the experience. One young person commented, “It was my first time away from home, so I was a bit worried, but everyone took care of me.”
All of the young people had to chip in during the residential, taking turns driving the boat, operating the lock gates and helping to prepare meals. It was also a chance for them to have fun and get to know each other in a new environment. The social aspect of the residential was particularly important for members who are on the autistic spectrum and have difficulty in social situations. They grew in confidence when speaking to others and made new friends.
One of the older members took charge driving the narrowboat during the trip, which gave him the necessary experience to pass his Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Helmsman Course. This in turn enabled him to gain employment as a narrowboat skipper, bringing in much-needed income for his family whilst doing something he enjoys.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the residential with one exclaiming; “Loved it! Now I can drive a boat all by myself” and another adding, “I liked learning how to do the locks. I did all of them!”
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