Sail Birmingham

It’s no secret that getting outdoors and being active positively impacts our health and mental wellbeing, in fact, a recent study by Urban Mind shows the mental health benefits of going for a walk can last up to 7 hours!

So imagine the effect of being outdoors, active and surrounded by acres of water, paths, trees and wildlife. Well, thanks to an ambitious new community sailing project at Edgbaston Reservoir you can.

Sail Birmingham, launched by Midland Sailing Club is putting community sailing at the heart of the city by making the water accessible to everyone of any age, background and ability. The new programme of tailor-made and open-access activities means even people who might never have thought they could get on the water, can now enjoy all the wellbeing benefits of being active outdoors.

Ladywood MP, Shabana Mahmood, is amongst those to have welcomed the initiative, while Cllr Albert Bore, Birmingham City Council, Ladywood Ward, described the green and peaceful Edgbaston Reservoir location as “a hidden gem at the heart of Birmingham.”

Keith Wraight, Sail Birmingham Manager, explains: “There are perceptions of sailing that stops some people from even thinking about it as something they could do, it isn’t even on their radars. But Sail Birmingham is about showing everyone that actually sailing is open to them and it can have a hugely positive impact on their lives.

“Sailing is a low impact activity that can be enjoyed by all the family and it’s great for meeting people and making new friends. By learning new skills people get a sense of challenge and achievement, while sailing is proven to help young people develop key life skills that can positively shape their futures and even create new career opportunities. On the water everyone is equal and spending time outdoors is an integral part of everyone’s wellbeing.”

Amongst the wide-ranging opportunities, Sail Birmingham are also offering Silver Sailing for people who want to stay active into retirement, Sailability for disabled people, Women on the Water, RYA OnBoard for schools and youth organisations, and holiday schemes where young people can learn to sail and progress through a structured scheme.

In addition, current sailors can just turn up to ‘Pay and Play’ and after-work and other group sessions are open for schools, charities and other organisations to book. The club also continues to run its popular learn to sail courses and taster sessions.

Sail Birmingham is the result of partnerships between Midland SC and sailing’s governing body, the RYA, RYA Sailability – the national programme enabling disabled people to go sailing – the Canal and River Trust and Birmingham City Council.

Midland SC was established in 1894 and has a long history at Edgbaston Reservoir. Last year the club taught 83 new adults and young people to sail, but increasing demand for people wishing to get afloat led to Sail Birmingham’s launch.

For more information visit www.sailbirmingham.com.