Blue Spirit – Laury Gratiet Bursary Fund
Hosted by Sail Boat Project, Blue Spirit – Laury Gratiet Bursary Fund grants sailing bursaries to young people (aged 16 to 25) who are experiencing a mental health challenge or facing social / economic disadvantage.
Through our sailing partners in the south-east and north-east of England, we offer anything between day sails and 6-day trips. You don’t need any experience or special gear to participate – just some enthusiasm and an open mind.
Our bursaries will cover everything directly related to your sailing trip, including food onboard, hire of sailing waterproofs and visitor mooring costs. You can also talk to us if you think you may have difficulties getting to the port (Chichester or North Shields) or will need to bring a carer on board with you.
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What we do
Blue Spirit works in partnership with two charitable enterprises in the South-East and North-East of England which offer sailing experiences to young people. These organisations – Sail Boat Project in Chichester and Ocean Youth Trust North (OYTN) in North Shields – have a wealth of experience in providing safe and exhilarating sailing experiences to a wide range of people.
We also partner with community groups and charities in North-East and South-East England who are well-placed to identify and refer young people who would benefit from this kind of experience. This fund is not limited to people suffering from mental health issues, but is for any young person who would not normally be able to access this kind of experience and who would benefit from enhanced wellbeing, gaining self-confidence or an opportunity to have time for themselves in nature.
One in four people will face a mental health challenge at one stage in their life, and none are more affected these days than our youth.
At the same time, research has shown that just being in blue spaces (like the sea) can have a positive effect on stress reduction and wellbeing – think iodine-rich sea breeze, the calming sound of the waves and sea birds, the sun on your face absorbing much needed vitamin D…
Sailing itself also has multiple benefits. Learning to sail helps develop essential life skills. Sailing can bring you out of your comfort zone and challenge your perceived limitations; it can help increase your self-confidence and resilience; it can teach you how to work with others and even lead a team; and it can be great fun.
In memory of Laury
Laury (1999 to 2020) was born and raised in the Côtes d’Armor on the northern coast of Brittany, France. Growing up by the sea, he developed a passion for sailing and – later – for teaching young people to sail.
Laury travelled around the world with his family, living in Uruguay and Colombia for a few months, and volunteering at two ‘Human Force’ service-learning camps in Kalimantan, Indonesia and Puebla, Mexico.
As a result, he spoke several languages fluently: French, English, Breton and Spanish. Laury played the accordion and particularly loved Latin American and Breton music, and he was passionate about Breton dancing.
Laury had a beautiful smile, an infectious laugh and a warm heart. He was sensitive, intelligent, stubborn, charming, lovable, passionate, idealistic, infuriating, determined and affectionate!
He cared passionately about people and planet and he was motivated by making the world a better place. As a teenager, he helped establish a local branch of Amnesty International, and he was determined to do anything he could to help protect the environment.
Beset by mental health challenges, Laury took his own life in July 2020. Although his issues proved too much for him in the end, Laury always felt happiest when sailing, and it was his passion from the first time he set foot in an Optimist at the tender age of seven.