Lottery grant puts wind in the sails of Western Isles club

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Western Isles Yacht Club (WHYC) is celebrating after being awarded almost £6,000 in National Lottery funding to support its community water sports.

The club, which has been running for more than 60 years, will use the funds to help continue training sailing cadets in Tobermory on Mull while adding kayaking to its remit.

The club runs weekly sailing sessions on Wednesday evenings where youngsters learn how to sail, gain water confidence, socialise and exercise.

The new grant will allow the club to kit out a fleet of kayaks, which were generously donated by Christine Morrell.

Given the lack of indoor social and sporting opportunities during the pandemic, it is anticipated outdoor club activities will be especially important to people when they re-start this month.

Club member Conor Ryan, who applied for the grant, said: ‘As an avid kayaker, I am delighted the sport will become accessible to more people in the community. We live in one of the best places in Europe for sea-kayaking and it is a great way to experience wildlife, geology and history.’

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund will also be spent on new sails for existing dinghies and buoyancy aids and wetsuits for kayaking and sailing.

It will also fund a course to train people in kayaking safety and proficiency to help run club kayaking sessions.

Neil Hutton, WIYC secretary, added: ‘We’re delighted The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the importance of continuing and expanding our community water sports.

‘Kayaking and sailing are more than exercise and fresh air. They provide opportunities for team-building, developing maritime skills and learning about our marine environment.’