Earlier this month, a group of eight students from our Foundation and Supported Learning area took part in a four-day residential trip aboard the Blue Mermaid Sailing Barge. They were accompanied by two members of staff, Julie and Paula, who chronicled the journey.
On day one, they arrived at Heybridge Boat Yard and began their voyage down the River Blackwater. The students were able to get involved immediately; clear and patient instructions from crewmembers Richard, Hilary and Olly, meant our learners could take on new challenges and learn new skills in a safe and supported environment.
Day two saw the Blue Mermaid sailing past the familiar Brightlingsea coastline to Sandy Point, East Mersea, where Hilary, one of the crewmembers, had set up a treasure hunt for the students.
On day three, everyone was up bright and early to hoist the foresail and travel out to sea. In the evening, Richard took some students out for rowing lessons around the boat before dinner and all enjoyed a night of board games.
The final day saw everyone sailing back in good spirits. The students discussed the skills they had learnt and waved farewell to the crew before heading back home.
Educational and Pastoral Support Officer Julie showed immense pride in the students who took part in this trip, “This experience was exceptional in every way. Every one of our students gained so much: learning new skills, building on and improving their social and personal development, gaining self-esteem and confidence and having the opportunity to take part in something completely away from their everyday lives.”
The trip was funded by £4960 of donations to the Sea Change Trust from Active Thames and The Gostling Foundation. The College sincerely thanks them for their contribution that have helped to truly enrich these student’s lives.