Sailing Into Wellness in Dunmore East
“I feel a spark for life again after sailing” the mental health benefits of getting on the water
Sailing Into Wellness is an award-winning charity using the unique setting of the water to empower individuals to overcome challenges, increase coping mechanisms and build a positive sense of self and community. Working with community groups from the South East they offer programmes for people with mental health and addiction challenges, intellectual and physical disabilities and those engaged with the criminal justice services.
Together, they set sail in Dunmore East for the months of May and June, with the kind support of Waterford Harbour Sailing Club and Dunmore East Harbour Master.
Operating out of Dunmore East, Sailing into Wellness is providing a range of water-based programmes to four local organisations. With integral funding and support from Waterford Wexford Education and Training Board, this non-profit is able to offer the four groups the chance to take part in therapeutic and educational programmes. During the month, Sailing Into Wellness will work with Vita Hub, providing services and supports for people with disabilities, Aiseiri, provides a range of supports to people with addictions. Focus Ireland, provides services for people who are homeless and people at risk of homelessness, Cornmarket, a community-based treatment and rehabilitation programme supporting ex- prisoners, those with prior criminal convictions and substance misusers.
Participants will sail from Dunmore East once a week for four weeks, while learning the basic skills of sailing is important, the real focus is on personal and social development, such as communication, teamwork, and leadership which all help build resilience, confidence, motivation, and self-efficacy.
“I couldn’t stop smiling, honestly the first time I have felt happy in two months” a quote from a recent Sailing into Wellness participant. Getting onto the water is giving these participants a chance to have some peace in their life.
“Engaging with the Sailing Into Wellness program has been a life changing experience for many of our clients” Michael Fortune Operations Manager, Aiseiri Progression Program.
Katy Mullins, Sailing Into Wellness Instructor stated “Any time you get on a boat with anyone, you leave behind the world. You’re in a smaller space, causing barriers to melt, all you have is what’s happening on the boat, that can really open people up, and let down any walls or defences that they might have in their own mind. It can become a very safe space in no time at all”.
Sailing Into Wellness is a charity and social enterprise started over six years ago. It all began when sailing truly helped co-founder Colin Healy with his own recovery journey. Once he became aware of the power of sailing and getting out on the water, his passion was to share this unique resource with other people who may be experiencing their own challenges. Last year, Sailing into Wellness operated in nine locations throughout Ireland helping 470 people to learn skills on the water that are transferable to everyday life.
Sailing into Wellness is completely funding dependant and more funds are needed to create an even deeper impact for those in need.