It’s certainly been a tough couple of weeks for the Disabled Sailors Association.
Times are tough for most charities at the moment so we know many people were saddened to hear about a break-in at the DSA’s Portchester base.
When thieves made off with £20,000-worth of equipment they didn’t just steal from a worthy cause – they robbed all those who use this vital service of the chance to enjoy doing something that means so much to them.
Now we learn that the charity feels it has been forced to close its doors for good following another setback.
A flooding problem has caused numerous problems and that doesn’t just create an issue surrounding damage and mess.
The DSA’s main aim is to get people who wouldn’t normally be able to enjoy the freedom of sailing out on the water.
Many of their clients use wheelchairs and have mobility problems, so you can understand why flood water could pose a potential safety hazard.
We understand that the charity is in a dispute with Hampshire County Council over the situation and will have to wait and see how that develops.
But the ins and outs of the situation shouldn’t be allowed to distract from the fact that the closure of the DSA will come as a bitter blow to the thousands of people it’s helped over the years, as well as all those who would have hoped to use it in the future.
The group’s chairman, Mike Wood, has put his heart and soul into running the DSA for more than 20 years.
He won’t have made the decision to close lightly – it’s bound to be something he’s agonised over for a long time.
It’s a shame to see the charity’s history come to an end but it’s clear that the DSA couldn’t continue to shell out as much as £5,000 a week on dealing with the problems it has faced.
We must all hope that the council and the charity can come to some sort of agreement and quickly.
In the past we’ve seen lots of good outcomes emerge out of a bad situation – let’s hope this can be one of those occasions.