Wounded Veterans & Troubled Teens on the High Seas

Monday 18 April 2016

A tri-charity sailing course supporting disadvantaged young people and wounded Veterans has seen incredible results, with 100% of candidates reporting that the initiative has increased their self-confidence.

Born from a partnership between Help for Heroes, The Prince’s Trust and forces sailing charity Turn 2 Starboard, the six day sailing course on board the ‘Spirit of Falmouth’ created a close-quarters but friendly and exciting environment in which two different groups of people could experience a life-changing adventure out on the water.

Participants were supported by an ex-military crew from Turn 2 Starboard. Their expert knowledge, military can-do attitude and supportive banter created an empowering environment for participants to learn from each other. The focus of the week was to build confidence, communication and practical skills.

On arrival, each wounded Veteran was paired with a young person from The Prince’s Trust. This buddy system encouraged mutual learning and personal development, as well as fostering teamwork.

Wounded Veterans And Troubled Teens On The High Seas

Throughout the week, participants learnt about weather, tidal curves, engines, knot-work and passage-planning sessions delivered by all crew.

Each night, the participants came together as a full team during the evening meals for a review and reflection of the day.

All three charities are thrilled with the results reported at the end of the week:

• 100% of candidates reported that this course increased their self-confidence during the week
• All candidates demonstrated stronger communication skills – in general discussion; in sailing-specific instruction; and in articulating their aspirations post-course
• 100% of candidates said they benefitted from the practical skills they learnt onboard
• 100% of Veterans confirmed they wanted to remain in touch with Turn to Starboard and further build on their sailing experience

On the final day of the course, one Veteran confided in a crew member just how much the course had helped with his hidden wounds; “I’ve taken my first pill for anxiety today since I joined the boat. I normally eat them like sweets”

We will touch base with all participants in six months’ time to see how the course is supporting them longer term and look forward to seeing this partnership go from strength to strength!


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