The Little Optimist – Italtile’s CSI partner – Launches a sailing academy with a difference

Greg Bertish is an inspiration to all of us at Italtile; a Multiple Heart Surgery Survivor, Big Wave Surfer, Ocean Activist, SA Champion Lifesaver and Stand Up Paddle Boarder. But he will tell you that his greatest joy is The Little Optimist Trust – Italtile’s chosen CSI partner – where he and his inspirational teams help to keep hope afloat for some of South Africa’s most at-risk children. Sick, poor, frail or differently abled, every child touched by the programme learns skill sets that empower them to survive and thrive, and become Little Optimists. Although much of the Trust’s work happens in the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and in township outreach events, some of the programme is run on the water, in the brave little boats that gave the Trust its name. An annual race event helps raise awareness and much-needed funds, and Italtile’s own Optimist sets sail at every event!

Taking his beloved Little Optimist Trust one step further in 2022, Greg Bertish has launched a truly unique Sailing Therapy Academy in partnership with Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront – the only one of its kind in the world – with sports management specialist Juliette Ball (known as Cape Town’s mermaid!) at the helm. The initiative kicks off in March 2022, and the focus will be on sailing therapy as a means of uplifting and empowering children who are struggling either health-wise or socio-economically, to overcome their mental and physical hardships. Over 90% of the participants come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Academy will also be available for private lessons and children’s parties: each fee paid will sponsor a child who cannot afford to pay.

In Greg’s own words, “It’s finally happening, and The City of Cape Town and the South African public are already loving it!”


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From our suppliers, to the organisations we support, every Italtile partnership builds and grows because we at Italtile feel that their culture, objectives and beliefs resonate strongly with our own. The Little Optimist Trust and the new Sailing Therapy Academy truly underscore and add meaning to Italtile’s brand promise “Live Beautifully”. We are proud to be on board as sponsors and wish Greg Bertish, Juliette Ball, their crew and little sailors smooth sailing.