Wetwheels Solent set to expand services across south Hampshire, thanks to local donation

Unique Portsmouth based charity, WetWheels Solent, has received funding from the Barker-Mill Foundation (BMF) in the shape of  £5,000 to support the charities new Outreach Project 2016.

Wetwheels Solent provides children and young adults with disabilities the chance to experience the waters of the Solent on board their custom-built, fully-accessible motor boat. Aboard the boat the beneficiaries become part of the crew and take part in fun and adventurous experiences within a specialist environment.

Barker-Mill Foundation’s donation will support the Outreach Project 2016 which will see the boat, which is usually based in Portsmouth, venture out to five neighbouring harbours bordering south Hampshire and the IOW to identify and provide the opportunity for a further 200 disabled people under the age of 25 to experience a trip on Wetwheels. Ports will include Southampton, Cowes, Yarmouth, Lymington and Hamble.

Tim Jobling, Trustee at the Barker-Mill Foundation said: “What we loved about this charity is the unique experience they provide to disabled youngsters in Portsmouth, and we wanted to help fund their project so more children in Hampshire can experience Wetwheels.

“It’s inspiring to hear their ambitions to expand and we’re privileged to have been able to help in some way.”

From feedback Wetwheels has received, over 85% of disabled participants have never accessed the water via boat before. Wetwheels is a fully accessible boat; it removes the barriers that can prevent disabled people experiencing life on the water.

Geoff Holt MBE DL, Chairman and Chief executive of Wetwheels said: “From our experience and research we’ve conducted, we found that when barriers are removed, disabled people are more likely to participate in activities. Our research tells us that the children find the Wetwheels experience leaves them feeling a greater sense of health and well-being and a reduction in anxiety.

“Because of this we wanted to expand our service to a higher number of young disabled people around Hampshire.  We’ve already taken more than 2,500 people onto the water for the first time and now, with the help of the Barker-Mill Foundation, we’re one step closer to getting Outreach Project 2016 in action!”

The trips spent on Wetwheels are more than just a chance for children to spend time on the water, they are made to help them feel part of a team and they enjoy a fun, high-value experience that they can share with their friends and families.  They’re even given the chance to drive the boat.

If you’d like to make a donation visit: http://www.wetwheels.co.uk/donate.aspx