Carrickfergus sailing volunteers hailed at national event

Belfast Lough Sailability representatives with the award picked up at the National Sailability Conference.
Belfast Lough Sailability representatives with the award picked up at the National Sailability Conference.

Belfast Lough Sailability has been praised at national level for its work in breaking down barriers.

The Carrickfergus-based charity was Team Award runner-up at the National Sailability Conference in Wyboston, Cambridgeshire at the weekend.

In his address at the awards dinner, Joff McGill, Royal Yachting Association, Sailability manager, recalled the impression created on him at large event he attended during 2017. BLS, with Carrickfergus Sailing Club, hosted the prestigious President’s Cup and UK and Irish National Hansa Championships in August.

He said: “The group has an open door policy because all they want to do is make sailing, motor boating and kayaking accessible to all. The group is entirely run by volunteers, breaking down barriers as they go. They are at the heart of the community in Carrickfergus, and constantly raise awareness of what people can achieve.

“You will hear much talk in sailing circles that the future of the sport lies in creating an experience for people, that festival atmosphere. You don’t have to look much further than the 2017 Irish National Hansa Championships and Presidents Cup. Fantastic sailing on the water and great craic off it. A really generous group, they have a very well deserved and outstanding reputation amongst all those that get involved with their work.”

Anne Taylor, Secretary of BLS, said they were “delighted” with the recognition.

Anne added: “The conference is always a wonderful opportunity to network with other groups and individuals.”

The conference included a range of workshops including managing social media, goal setting, standards and support, boats and technology, manual handling, data protection and safety.

BLS extended thanks go to the RYA Sailability team for organising and supporting the event.