A learning disability service in Herts & Essex has organised the holiday of a lifetime for a group of adults with learning disabilities.

The service based in Bishop’s Stortford, which is run by learning disabilities charity Hft, organised a four-day boating trip on the Queen Galadriel for six people they support. They set sail from Poole Harbour, and ventured to Chapman’s Poole, Portland Bill, Weymouth and Studland before returning.

Four Support Workers and three crew members accompanied the group on their sailing adventure. The group had the opportunity to take part in all aspects of life on board – from putting up sails, to steering, cooking for the whole team and keeping the boat clean.

A notable highlight of the trip was seeing a spectacular sunset at Studland Bay. Everyone was also offered the opportunity to climb the net at the front of the boat and go up the main mast – which stands at around 13 metres.

Sylvie Thickitt, Senior Support Worker at Hft who attended the boat trip, highlighted the many benefits it provides for the people the service supports.

“This trip is an excellent opportunity to provide the people we support with an unforgettable experience. They are developing skills around sailing but it is also a fun way of building their confidence, learning to share responsibilities, be part of a working team and reinforcing social skills.”

Linda, a person we support, said her favourite part of the trip was “the sailing and cooking and the sunset.”

Whilst Christopher, who also attended the trip, said his was “being number one steering the boat.”

A number of different fundraising events have taken place to go towards the cost of the boating trip.

The most recent event was a sponsored cycle on a static bike in Sainsbury’s Thorley, which took place at the end of July. They held a cash collection during the event which shoppers could donate to.

The event was a success and the Herts & Essex service raised just over £400 to contribute to the cost of the boating trip on the Queen Galadriel.