Island Roads puts wind in the sails of boating charity

Posted on: November 27, 2019 at 3:30 pm
Front l-r Laura Haytack, Paul Wilks, IW Foundation Co-ordinator Sam O'Rourke and Trish Rooke

A £16,000 donation from the Isle of Wight Foundation has put wind in the sails of an Island charity that offers recreational boating opportunities for adults and children with physical and learning disabilities.

Cowes Sailability Club has been awarded the money by the foundation to help the charity purchase a specially designed Island-built motorboat that is fully wheelchair accessible. 

It will enable Cowes Sailability Club to offer life-enriching experiences and build disabled people’s confidence by providing access to the sea in a fun, safe and rewarding way.

Cowes Sailability Club is the latest organisation to receive a grant from the IW Foundation this year.

Each year The IW Foundation – comprising Ringway Island Roads, Meridiam, VINCI UK Foundation and VINCI Concession gives grants of between £3,000 and £16,000 to Island charities, good causes and organisations working to tackle social exclusion. Since 2014, nearly half a million pounds has been given to such causes.

Welcoming the IW Foundation money, Trish Rooke Fundraising Officer said: “This grant is a tremendous boost for us. Though we are based in Cowes we are an all-Island charity so a great many people will be able to benefit from the new opportunities this fantastic new boat will bring.

People with disabilities often have difficulty finding an accessible outdoor activity and as a result sometimes can feel isolated but this new motorboat will help Cowes Sailability Club continue to support members with many different kinds of disabilities.”

Cowes Sailability Club Commodore Paul Wilks added: “The total cost of the boat is around £96,000 so this money is a huge step towards us achieving our target. It is being built by Cheetah Marine of Ventnor and the fact that a local company is supplying the new boat makes the project extra special.

 “We still need more funds however and anyone interested in supporting this project or in getting involved with Cowes Sailability can find out more about us via

Under the foundation’s grant scheme, an Island Roads employee ‘sponsors’ the application from a group and then acts as a link to build an ongoing bond between the foundation and the recipient.

Island Roads Communication Officer Laura Haytack who sponsored the Cowes Sailability application said: “Members of Cowes Sailability have told us how liberating sea trips are and how much they look forward to their time on the water with their friends, gaining confidence, self-esteem, self-worth and a sense of community.

“We are delighted to be supporting this fantastic work which makes a great contribution to tackling social exclusion on the Island.”