The Jubilee Sailing Trust, which is based in Southampton and sails the Tenacious tall ship from Portsmouth with mixed disabled and non-disabled crews, says it will have to end a 44-year history unless it can lift at minus £500,000 by Thursday, April 14 and £1.2m by the end of September.
He blamed the pandemic for his cash crisis.
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Trust 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.
“Over the past few weeks we have been working with our advisers Grant Thornton, Hill Dickinson and Nat West Bank, but so far have not been able to reach a lasting solution.
“The JST was founded in 1978 through the extraordinary vision and foresight of a group of dedicated people working through thick and thin to make their dream a reality.
“Our co-founder, Christopher Rudd, first started working with children with disabilities teaching them to sail on dinghies. He thought most of the constraints that kept them from sailing further offshore were artificial and could be overcome. He also believed that if people with and without disabilities sailed side by side, it would help break down prejudices and misunderstandings between different social groups. His vision was to use thoughtful design and equipment to create a fully accessible ship that could be crewed by a crew of mixed abilities.
“Through the partnership between Christopher and his co-founder, Dr. Tony Hicklin, and supported by the fundraising efforts and invaluable support of our former President Francis Cator and our late President, the Honorable Jacquetta Cator, the JST was formed and Lord Nelson was built. After the launch of Lord Nelson, the JST grew more and more, leading to the construction of the second SV Tenacious.
“Our historic journey began with the generous support of the Queen’s Jubilee Fund and the Royal Household. It is incredibly sad that we are facing closure, especially in this year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The trust says it has “struggled hard” over the past two years but, as a small charity, the “hard and negative impact of Covid” – which has sabotaged most chances of sailing – and the crisis in the cost of living has seen an increase in costs and a decrease in income which has now reached a critical point.
He has received no money from the government’s Covid recovery loan program and other institutional sources, and says he is entirely dependent on fundraising and subsidized travel berths to fund operations.
It has released a travel schedule which runs until April 2023 which it says has ‘attracted an unprecedented level of bookings and interest’ – but that will only happen if it reaches its target of 500 £000 by next week. The next trip is due on April 22.