Inclusive yacht club hosts Attitude Foundation event

February 14, 2017

A hot sunny day on Sydney’s Pittwater, a keen sailor for a Chairman, and an inclusive venue was an ideal combination for Attitude Foundation’s first major fundraising event in 2017.

Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club takes the simple approach to disability inclusion. Through its Integrated disAbled Sailing program (IdS) it provides financial and volunteer support to include sailors with disabilities into the club’s regular sailing and racing program. It also supports the local branch of international disabled sailing organisation Sailability.

Club Commodore Ian Audsley is also a senior manager at Attitude Foundation’s founding sponsor ANZ. He hosted a major fundraiser for the Foundation which was attended by over 80 people, including club members and a range of ANZ staff and clients.

The approach of the fundraiser was to highlight how allowing disabled people to tell their stories can bring about social change in attitudes towards people with disabilities.

Opening the function, Attitude Foundation Chairman Graeme Innes said, “The Foundation aims to promote change through their own stories, stories of those doing work, doing sport and doing life.”

“These stories will help create a better understanding of what it’s like living with a disability that will change people attitudes and remove the barriers to promote inclusion in both society and the workforce.“

The aim is that those ordinary stories of disability will be told through a TV series that the Foundation is raising money to produce and air on national television.

Liesl Tesch, IdS ambassador and Paralympian, agreed that sport is a pathway to inclusion.

“Sport is a great medium for social inclusion, I had knowledge that we could create new things which have driven me to do what I’ve done but it couldn’t have happened without the support from others, I do thank the RPAYC for all the support and effort from all the volunteers and members, it’s been an incredible contribution to our two gold medals.”

The IdS program has expanded through the work of Tesch and fellow ambassador and Paralympics gold medallist Dan Fitzgibbon to include Soldier On, which supports veterans who have been affected physically and psychologically by their service. 

Ultimately the impact of the club’s approach is social inclusion and normalisation of disability. Dan Fitzgibbon says that it means that sailors with disabilities are able to sail alongside and with other club members.

“Another white boat, just like anyone else”, said Fitzgibbon.

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