News: Jubilee Sailing Trust operations face closure

The Jubilee Sailing Trust will be forced into ceasing operations ending a forty-four year history, unless it can urgently raise a minimum of £500K by Thursday April 14 and a total of £1.2 million by the end of September 2022.

The charity has been deeply affected by the pandemic leading to an immediate cash flow crisis.

JST has battled hard through the last two years but, as a small charity providing life-changing tall ship experiences for the disabled, the harsh and negative impact of Covid and the cost-of-living crisis has seen an increase in costs and a decrease in income which has now reached a critical point.

Despite great effort, we have been unable to secure financial support through the Government Covid Recovery Loan scheme and other institutional sources.

To deliver our mission we rely entirely on fundraising and subsidised berths for voyages to fund our operations. Since the outbreak of the pandemic we have had very limited opportunities to sail, only recently restarting our hugely popular voyages. 

Our planned voyage programme released through to the end of April 2023 has attracted an unprecedented level of bookings and interest but will now not take place unless we can raise the necessary funds. The next voyage is due to take place on April 22, 2022. 

Sailing Tenacious is key to delivering our mission. if we have to cease our operations it will be a long time before there is a tall ship that allows disabled and non-disabled people to sail alongside each other. Tenacious is now the only tall ship in the world that through thoughtful design and equipment is fully accessible to a mixed ability crew.

JST CEO Patrick Fleming said:

"We are in a desperately difficult situation and have to face the harsh reality that we may not be able to continue.

In recent weeks we have worked with our advisers Grant Thornton, Hill Dickinson and Nat West bank but we have so far been unable to achieve a sustainable solution.

"The JST was founded in 1978 through the extraordinary vision and foresight of a dedicated group of people working against the odds to make their dream a reality. 

"Our co-founder, Christopher Rudd, first began working with disabled children by teaching them to sail in dinghies. He believed that most of the constraints that prevented them sailing further offshore were artificial and could be overcome. He also believed that if disabled and non-disabled people were to sail alongside each other, it would help break down the prejudices and misunderstandings between different social groups. His vision was to use thoughtful design and equipment to create a fully accessible ship to be crewed by a mixed ability crew.

"Through the partnership between Christopher and his co-founder Dr Tony Hicklin, and backed by the fundraising efforts and invaluable support of our former Chairman Francis Cator and our late President The Hon Jacquetta Cator, the JST was formed and Lord Nelson was built. After the launch of Lord Nelson, the JST grew from strength to strength, leading to the building of the second SV Tenacious. 

"Our historic journey started with the generous support of the Queen’s Jubilee Fund, and the Royal Household. It is incredibly sad that we face closure, particularly in this, the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Year.”

The BBC Travel show video here vividly shows the work we do:

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