Building disabled people's confidence
Wetwheels builds disabled people’s confidence by providing the opportunity to access the sea in a fun, safe, stimulating and rewarding way using specially modified, fully accessible powerboats.
With the support of our donors and partner organisations we provide water-based activity experiences for disabled people on board our specially designed boats, from centres within local communities.
Our adventurous trips afloat are staffed by specialists who ensure each person can share experiences, challenge their self-perceptions, extend their horizons, and discover new opportunities.
Beneficiaries are active participants, rather than simply passengers, with the opportunity to steer the vessel and learn seamanship, alongside their peers, friends, and families. The experience is truly inclusive helping to improve aspirations and increase confidence.
Our own research tells us more than 80% of Wetwheels’ participants have never previously been on the sea. When asked why, the reason given is that the opportunity had not existed before. Disabled people can face particular challenges developing confidence, self-belief, self-worth and independence and many do not reach their potential in life. Most are very able but are restricted by low aspiration and lack of opportunity, which often impacts on wellbeing, the ability to live a full life and make a valuable contribution to society.
Wetwheels is an inspiring organisation where perceived barriers are reassessed, new skills are learned and new-found independence is discovered. Participants are able to have a single experience or return over time to develop new skills.
Wetwheels in Jersey
Jersey is steeped in maritime history and boasts one of the most exciting 'marine countrysides' anywhere in Europe. Sadly, access to the water has historically been the preserve of a small percentage of islanders.
Since we launched our local boat, "Wetwheels Jersey", in 2014, many wheelchair users and other disabled children and adults have been amongst the thousands who have enjoyed a variety of trips, including visits to all of the other Channel Islands, Les Minquiers, Les Ecréhous, Chausey and the coast of France.
There is practically no barrier to getting afloat - our passengers have ranged in age from 3 to 94 - and the vessel's design makes it comfortable for wheelchair users and practical for anyone with a physical disability or learning difficulty.
Our pool of volunteer skippers and highly-qualified boatmen are all commercially endorsed by the Royal Yachting Association and have passed a rigorous boat handling assessment by our Senior Skipper. They are also DBS checked and have undergone disability awareness training to make sure that every passenger's trip is safe, fun and educational.
Our ethos is to make every trip free of charge. Operating expenses are minimised by the wonderful support of many volunteers and costs are covered through fundraising initiatives, generous donations by corporates and charitable trusts.
We welcome donations but these are entirely discretionary.
Every penny donated is used to get more people on the water.