Jubilee Sailing Trust in emergency SOS

Local charity that pioneered disability adventure and social inclusion, faces closure unless it can find £1m by this Friday. 


A much-loved local charity, which has been a pioneer in disability adventure and social inclusion, faces closure unless it can find £1m by this Friday. 

The Jubilee Sailing Trust, which was founded by a Grant from The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Fund in 1978, operates two unique, purpose-built tall ships, The Lord Nelson and Tenacious that are fully enabled for people with disabilities and are two of the last four remaining UK flagged, square rigged ships on the sea

Ove the past 40 years the charity has taken nearly 50,000 people to sea, many of whom have physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or faced other challenges in their lives.

But at an emergency meeting last week, trustees heard that the charity has been operating without any significant reserves for some time and has been hit by short-term cash flow issues and unless £1 million can be raised by this Friday then the trust will have no option but to cease all activities immediately

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

“The JST has been a world leader on inclusive adventure since its inception and has played an important role in changing the perception of people with disabilities, long before these issues were in the public eye. Our work is transformative and life changing for the thousands of people who sail with us. It is so important it continues for the benefit of generations to come.” 

During the organisation’s voyages, which are typically a week or longer, the ships are crewed by people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. The trust says that the intensity of the experience encourages profound personal growth and the different groups onboard have to work together as a team, breaking down social barriers and promoting inclusion. 

Ben, a 42-year-old IT professional has described his experience:

“In June 2016 I collapsed on a train going into work and got taken into hospital with what was believed to be an Autoimmune Disease. Five days later I was paralysed from the waist down, five weeks after that from the neck down. I spent seven months in an acute ward and then four months in rehab.

“This summer I completed a week’s voyage on the Lord Nelson. Being now paralysed from the chest down, I rarely left my adapted apartment. And now here I was on a tall ship, out to sea with 40 people I’d never met before.

“I was treated as a working member of crew like everyone else, but my mindset had been so negative over the past year I felt that I couldn’t join in with anything due to my disability. That all changed when I hoisted myself out of my wheelchair up the main mast to the lookout point.

“When I got to the top, absolutely shattered, I heard the whole ship cheer. When I sat there taking in the breath-taking view everything suddenly seemed to click. Gone was the negativity and the constant ‘I can’t don’t this’ rattling around my head.”

The JST have issued the following information for those who wish to donate:

If you would like to help, please send your donation using the Appeal Gift Form or donate via JustGiving (donate here).Please make sure you include up-to-date contact information with your gift and alsotick the Gift Aid box(if you can) to add anextra £25p for every £1 you donate. 

All funds received will be placed in a ring-fenced accountand will not be utilised until a final decision about the Trust’s viability is made by the Trustees at a meeting on Monday July 8th. All funds received by close of business on Friday July 5th will be considered in their decision making.

If, at that meeting, the Trustees decide insufficient monies have been raised to continue operations, then they will be promptly returned to those who have contributed. 

We sincerely appreciate your consideration of our request and thank you, in advance, for any assistance you can provide at this critical time.