Jubilee Sailing Trust: Charity which operates tall ship Tenacious says it will fold if it doesn't raise £500,000 in a week

A sailing charity is going to go bust unless it can raise half a million pounds in a week.

Friday, 8th April 2022, 6:00 am

The Jubilee Sailing Trust, which is based in Southampton and sails the tall ship Tenacious from Portsmouth with mixed disabled and non-disabled crews, says it will have to end a 44-year history unless it can raise at least £500,000 by Thursday, April 14 and £1.2m by the end of September.

It has blamed the pandemic for its cashflow crisis.

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Tenacious off Portsmouth on a calm March day Picture: Shaun Roster

The trust’s 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.

Tenacious by Jo Bryant. Instagram: @jobryantphotography

‘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 trust says it has ‘battled hard’ through the last two years but, as a small charity, the ‘harsh and negative impact of Covid’ – which has scuppered most chances to sail – and the cost-of-living crisis has seen an increase in costs and a decrease in income which has now reached a critical point.

It has not been given any cash from the government’s Covid Recovery Loan scheme and other institutional sources, and says it relies entirely on fundraising and subsidised berths for voyages to fund operations.

Tenacious under sail

It has released a voyage programme which runs up to the of April 2023 has which it says has ‘attracted an unprecedented level of bookings and interest’ – but this will not happen unless it hits its £500,000 target by next week. The next voyage is due to take place on April 22.

A fundraising campaign has been launched and can be found at https://thinkdonate.com/c/Jubilee2