(Singapore, 11 March 2016) – Partners DBS Bank and the Singapore Sailing Federation joined hands in a community outreach program for the physically disabled at Marina Bay on Friday, March 11.
About 15 participants from the two beneficiaries, the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) and AWWA (formerly known as the Asian Women’s Welfare Association), relished the opportunity to sail on the DBS-sponsored 40-foot SM40 keelboats used in the existing DBS Sailing at the Bay program first launched in 2012.
Accompanied by 12 of the bank’s staff volunteer movement, DBS People of Purpose, the afternoon sail on the massive boats typically used for match racing took place in the heart of the city. This was the venue of the 8th ASEAN Para Games in December last year, where sailing was included for the very first time.
The Federation has plans underway for the implementation of a sailing program for participants with disabilities, using specially designed boats that can be sailed by both the able-bodied and those with disabilities. Poised to be rolled out in mid 2016, the program will be conducted in partnership with the People’s Association Water Venture’s latest flagship centre, PAssion WaVe @ Marina Bay.
“There is much more to sailing than just winning trophies and medals. We hope to offer every individual, including those with disabilities, the ecologically-friendly and thrilling experience of sailing. It is heartening to see meaningful initiatives such as this, conducted in collaboration with our partner DBS, for SPD and AWWA. With our inclusive sailing program slated to be formally introduced within the next few months, we lay a strong foundation for the continuity and progression of sailing as an inclusive sport, “said Dr Ben Tan, President of the Singapore Sailing Federation, and Sports Patron and Medical Advisor to the Singapore Disability Sports Council.
The Federation’s work continues to be guided by The Next Leg, the strategic blueprint unveiled in 2010. Among the ten strategic thrusts are Leave No Class Behind and Taking the Lead in Being Inclusive. Aligned closely with the goal of integrating sailing, these initiatives are an embodiment of this vision.
Sailing in the Central Business District at Marina Bay is symbolic of how sailing in Singapore has evolved with urbanization and exemplifies the strategic move towards adopting a more spectator-friendly racing format. With this refreshed approach to how the sport is presented, the Federation continues to drive a diverse range of activities from community sailing to regional and international competitions, such as the upcoming DBS Marina Bay Cup slated to take place in September that attracts some of the finest keelboat sailors from across the world.
Said Patsian Low, Senior Vice President responsible for CSR at DBS Bank, “This collaboration between community groups and DBS People of Purpose aims to provide diverse groups of people with an opportunity to experience the bay. Our employees volunteered their time to connect with communities outside work and make it possible for more people to enjoy the DBS Marina Bay Sailing Programme. Throughout the year, they can have this unique experience on our sailboats, and be hosted by our employees.”
“We are thankful to DBS and the Singapore Sailing Federation for extending this programme to our clients. We hope such exposures will give them more opportunities to interact socially, build their confidence and empower them to lead an active lifestyle despite their disabilities,” said Jeffrey Chin, Deputy Director, Adult and Elderly Services, SPD.