Image: Lloyd Images

Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, has thrown his support behind a Sussex charity’s fundraising campaign to build some of the very best facilities for sailors with disabilities in the UK.

The ‘Door to Shore’ campaign aims to raise £538,000 which will allow Sussex Yacht Club, in partnership with the charity Sussex Sailability, to create a fully accessible centre of sailing excellence in Shoreham.

Sussex Yacht Club established the charity Sussex Sailability in 2001, to enable people with disabilities the opportunity to take up the sport.  It’s now thriving and its sessions are always popular.

Terry Kinch, the Commodore of Sussex Yacht Club and Trustee of Sussex Sailability said, “Our current club building is soon to be demolished to make way for flood defences to protect Shoreham.   We could have simply rebuilt our HQ as it stands now, but our membership was absolutely determined that it would be designed with accessibility at its heart.

“They’re busily fundraising to cover the additional costs that will be needed to provide the very best possible kit and facilities.  So, we have launched our ‘Door to Shore’ campaign with a goal of reaching £538,000.  Its name reflects our aim, for people to be able to access sailing with the freedom of total independence from their front door to the point that they actually get out on the water.

“Our first ambitious target is to get to £225,000 before the end of this year, which will cover the costs of the essential ramps that we need to enable access to the new building. This will only happen with the help of our wonderful local community and the sailing community.

“So, it’s incredible that we have the support of an Olympian for this campaign.  Sir Ben Ainslie is a hero to many of our members, so it means a tremendous amount to all of us to have his backing.”

Terry added, “I believe that the feeling of freedom when you are out on the water is transformative and we want many more people, with all kinds of disabilities, to have the confidence to try sailing.  So, the new facilities that will be enabled by this fundraising campaign will definitely make a real difference to real lives.”

Olympic Gold Medallist Sir Ben Ainslie CBE said, “I am delighted to support the Sussex Sailability ‘Door to Shore’ fundraising campaign; which will enable the building of brand-new facilities to allow disabled sailors full independent access to the sport.

“Sailing has given me so many opportunities and I am therefore keen for as many people as possible to have the opportunity to share in that passion.

“It’s all about accessibility; levelling the playing field to give everyone an equal chance of catching that sailing bug. It’s essential that sailors with disabilities have access to the right kit and facilities to be able to do that. I wish Sussex Sailability the very best of luck in their fundraising towards this goal.”

Work has already begun on the new clubhouse and facilities, which have been designed by specialist architects in conjunction with the charity Changing Places.  The new building will be opened in 2020.

For further details of the Door to Shore Fundraising Campaign, or to donate please visit



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