My two passions are sailing and self-management support, and last year I got the opportunity to run a project that combined the two! It took the most inordinate amount of work and really tested me. But I am really proud of the outcomes of the project and the steep learning curve that I've been on.
The aim of the project was to extend the opportunity to sail through ‘peer to peer’ support for people with severe disabilities/long term health problems across Dorset, working with Chesil Sailability sailors, health and wellbeing groups and the ‘My Health My Way’ service, so supporting people to develop their confidence and therefore their ability to self-manage and take up and maintain healthy behaviours.
To deliver this, the project involved training current sailors as peer mentors to give talks to local groups about their experiences of coming sailing, support individuals to come along and provide mentorship. Accompanying the mentors, we also took a Hansa 303 boat to events, to help bring our activities to life for the audiences.
That bit was relatively 'smooth sailing'. The challenge was trying to measure that. Working with My Health My Way, we hoped to use the Health Education Impact Questionnaire (HEIQ) to measure the impact in a tangible way. With the complexities of signing up for sailing, and other factors, we didn't manage to get these completed. Thanks to advice from Wessex CLAHRC, we evaluated the impact using qualitative interviews instead.
For me there were two big points from this that I've taken away.
Firstly, the rate of 'attrition', as shown on the final page of the final report, shows just how much time and effort needs to go on to engage people!
Secondly, redesigning how to do evaluation is so important to do early on, when the data isn't going to be there.
An enormous thank you to my father, Hugh de Iongh, for supporting me through the whole project.
The funding for This Floats My Boat was received from Dorset County Council’s Inspired by 2012 Health & Wellbeing Legacy Fund.
To read the Final Project Report, please click here.
Appendix 1 - Funding Application (not public)
Appendix 5 - Dry Sailing Session Template