Willie Rennie MSP finds out what it's like to go land-yachting with sight loss

Post date: 
Wednesday, 17 July 2019
Category: 
Scotland

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP will join a group of blind and partially sighted young people today to go land-yachting on West Sands beach in St Andrews.

Mr Rennie, MSP for North-East Fife, will be one of a two-person crew of a tandem-style land-yacht provided by the St Andrews-based adventure company Blown Away.

The youngsters taking part are all members of a youth group run by the national sight loss charity RNIB Scotland whose members are aged from eight to 18. All are in mainstream education but often the only child with sight loss in their school. RNIB Scotland supports children and young people with sight loss to take part in activities that they often would not be included in and runs a weekly social club.

Mr Rennie said: "I’m really looking forward to meeting the RNIB Scotland youth group and joining them to try our hand at land-yachting. The RNIB is one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and their youth group, which is made up of both blind and partially sighted children and young people, has been running in the east of Scotland for many years.

"The work of youth groups is increasingly important in connecting communities across Scotland, especially to ensure children and young people with sight loss are also included in physical activities. We need to encourage and promote groups like this as they build confidence, offer peer support and can be a vital lifeline for many.”

Jane Coates, community facilitator and team leader with RNIB Scotland, said: "Our summer programme happens every year and last year some of the kids asked to go land yachting. Blown Away have been great at accommodating the needs of the group, with tandem land yachts offered that fit two drivers."

Scott Malcolm (8) from Edinburgh, who has bilateral congenital cataracts and astigmatism, said: "I’ve never done this before and am really excited to have a shot."

There are around 3,000 children and young people living in Scotland with significant sight loss.