- PRESS RELEASE -
On Friday 3rd December 2010 it is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and we would like to celebrate this day by telling you about what we have done and what we plan to do in the future. The JST changes lives by breaking down the barriers between able bodied and disabled people, and promotes the integration of men and women of all physical abilities.
We do this via our two magnificent, fully accessible tall ships where every body gets the chance to participate in all aspects of running the ship.
- We challenge perceptions of disabled people’s abilities – both of themselves and the perceptions of those around them.
- The challenge of tall ship sailing with a mixed ability crew – who take responsibility for the ship during the voyage.
They sail throughout the year around the UK, Europe and the Caribbean, with a growing appeal from an international audience. Voyages are subsidised from fundraising to make them affordable and accessible to as many as possible. Since the charity’s inception in 1978 the philosophy has been that life should be about equality, sharing and celebrating our individual differences and working together to achieve greater things. During which, over 36,000 people have sailed with us. Of these, approximately 16,500 people were disabled, with 5,000 wheelchair users.
We send all voyage crew an evaluation form to gather evidence of changes to disability awareness, confidence, self-esteem and employment opportunities as a result of the voyage. Some of the results are shown below.
· 87% of voyage crew said the voyage made them more aware of what can be achieved by a mixed ability team in a well designed environment
· 84% said they had a greater understanding of how obstacles faced by people with disabilities can be reduced or removed
· 78% said the voyage improved their ability to work with people more or less able than themselves
· 77% of disabled people said their personal confidence has improved
· 70% of disabled people said their personal self esteem has improved
· 69% said that their attitudes towards people with physical disabilities had changed for the better
Furthermore, 97% of the voyage crew rated the JST experience as good or excellent.
These quotes best convey what the JST stands for and evidence of how we change lives.
"The JST is: excitement at sea, great camaraderie, meeting people from all backgrounds, tackling the elements and most importantly it helps me forget my disability. It has given me a life-line which has changed my life."
Terry White, JST volunteer and voyage crew
"Sailing with the JST is a special experience, no matter what your physical disability, you are all classed the same whilst on board. I really enjoyed interacting with people off all ages and backgrounds which is so unlike everyday life. We had a fantastic sail all the way to France, even the captain was surprised. I wouldn’t hesitate to go on board again and suggest it to everyone, especially those returning from service in the army."
Kyle Baker, voyage crew and Afghan veteran
The results indicate there’s a lot to be gained from experiencing a JST voyage, illustrating huge potential to widen our appeal. The benefits break through traditional barriers between cultures, presenting a unique environment that facilitates diversity.
By visiting the Caribbean, Europe and the UK in 2010 the JST hopes to share the benefits it instills with as many groups and cultures as possible. It is an aspect that’s at the forefront of our future plans.
In 2010 the JST is honored to welcome on board injured service men; The Commandos, Coldstream Guards, Grenadier Guards and The Rifles. Welcoming the armed forces on board presents a unique opportunity to assist in their recovery process. With over 32 years experience we like to think we are the perfect option for rehabilitation, encouraging people to realise their full potential regardless of ability – this presents a unique proposition.
We hope you can share our enthusiasm for our results and that you agree we have a huge potential to change lives and most importantly change the world of disability.