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A few days ago it was being reported that the Jubilee Sailing Trust was in danger of closing down due to a shortage of funds. The JST, founded in 1978, operates two purpose-built sailing vessels, the Lord Nelson and Tenacious.

Each year JST take some 2,000 adults to sea, with each ship able to accommodate a crew of up to 40, half of which might be disabled. Some 50,000 people have enjoyed what can be a life-transforming voyage aboard a JST ship since ’78.

(On a personal note, as someone who has crewed on a Sail Training Association ship during the Tall Ships Race, I can vouch for the fact that crewing these vessels can be a very testing and utterly rewarding experience. Ed.)

The JST funding crisis arose out of a number of issues that happened to come together in the usual “perfect storm”. A number of funding sources had changed their schedules and the two ships required some unforeseen maintenance. However, it had been known that the charity had been running low on reserves and was operating on the limits of its resources.

An emergency appeal was launched with a deadline of the 5th July, by which time it had to raise at least £1m: that target was met – and indeed exceeded. Which is tremendous news. Here is the Trusts’s note acknowledging the generosity of contributors:

“A much loved UK charity employing 51 people, seems set to be saved following an epic fundraising campaign which has raised over £1m in one week.

On Monday, the charity announced that it needed to raise £1m by 1800 today (Friday) in order to safeguard its future, following some serious cash flow issues brought about by the deferral of some partner projects to 2020 and unplanned engineering issues on both ships.

Duncan Souster, CEO of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, said:

The response to our emergency appeal has been absolutely amazing. Well over 3,500 people from across the world have already contributed in excess of £1,000,000 and funds continue to come in. From difficult circumstances, this extremely generous support has given our work a much brighter future. We are so grateful to everyone who has supported our campaign, both with messages of encouragement and also donations. It has been great to hear from so many people who have been positively impacted by our work across our forty decades of operation. It has reinvigorated the JST family and reinforced the importance of our mission, and why it must continue.”

For four decades, The Jubilee Sailing Trust has taken nearly 50,000 people to sea, many of whom have physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or faced other challenges in their lives. 

The organisation owns and operates two globally unique, purpose-built tall ships that are fully enabled for people with disabilities. Named Lord Nelson and Tenacious, they are two of the last four remaining UK flagged, square rigged ships on the sea. 

Their Trustees will meet on Monday July 8th to review the outcome of this week’s campaign and to determine the future of the organisation based on the progress made during the appeal. A further statement will be issued after this meeting.”

JST might be of particular interest to Military times readers as they run trips specifically for Forces Veterans, and one is being planned for later this year. Otherwise you can choose from a range of different types of voyage, from a coastal day-hop all the way to a long distance passage that might include rounding the Horn! A real Bucket-List menu!

Here is one story that makes the point:

Kyle was a member of the Rifles, an infantry regiment within the British Army. During an overseas campaign, he was severely injured and nearly died from his injuries. Kyle found recovery difficult and struggled to come to terms with his new disabilities. He battled with depression and found social interaction difficult, becoming increasingly reclusive and isolated. As someone who had always been physically active, Kyle also found his new life limiting and lacking adventure.

A well informed friend recommended he joined  a voyage with the JST. Kyle summarises his experience as follows: “Sailing with the JST is a special experience, no matter what your disability. Everyone is classed the same whilst on board, so you feel like you have some self worth… it really increases your confidence. After I was shot, I didn’t like large groups of people but when you’re on a tall ship with 40 other people, with nowhere to go, you get to know everyone as you’re always together. I wouldn’t hesitate to go on board again and suggest it to everyone, especially those undergoing rehabilitation and adjusting to a life changing injury”.

Regimental Casualty Officer Lieutenant Colonel Mike Smith said: “We find sailing with the JST incredibly beneficial for young men and women who have been seriously injured during operations, who are spending a long time at home feeling isolated, losing their self-confidence, losing their ability to integrate socially. The Jubilee Sailing Trust addresses all of these issues.” 

The JST website is at: https://jst.org.uk/

The Trust is always looking for more funds (obviously), but also volunteers who can help with all aspects of maintaining the vessels or fundraising.

All images copyright the Jubilee Sailing |Trust. Many words and quotes from the JST website.

To contribute in any way to the JST please use the following link to the relevant part of their website: https://jst.org.uk/get-involved/

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