23rd September 2014
David Newton spoke to club members about the Oxford and District Schools Sailing Association, of which he is Commodore.
The association was started 48 years ago (1966) with 6 member groups and 4 boats. It is a registered charity and owns several types of boats that enable able-bodied and disabled children to experience sailing on Farmoor reservoir near Oxford. The association focuses on training and environmental issues and they are members of the RYA and AALs (adventurous activities listing service).
Their members can be from 6-21 with most children being in the 11-18 age range and they are supported by Oxon County Council and have had contact with most of the youth associations in Oxon over the years. They started providing courses in the summer holidays in the late 1980’s and they currently have 50 member groups and 9000 users annually and employ one full time warden.
The future for the organisation is uncertain due to a number of factors: the lease for Farmoor expires in 2015; recent changes to funding, H&S and the national curriculum have reduced income; and the warden’s post will be cut next year due to the local government cuts. The club is working with the Oxford Sailing Club which is also on Farmoor, to combine into one club to provide training for adults and children to reduce costs.
David is also involved in Sailability also based at Farmoor which specialises in teaching disabled children to sail. Oxford Spires have provided money for a sail and winch for a Sailability boat in the past and David brought the winch with him to show us. David has kindly provided a safety boat for our annual Pooh Sticks event for the last few years and we hope to continue this relationship, and club members were invited to visit Farmoor to see the association in action.
The club presented David with a cheque for the ODSSA.