A much loved UK 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, 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.

Ben, a 42-year-old IT professional and beneficiary of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, said:

“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 breathtaking view everything suddenly seemed to click. Gone was the negativity and the constant ‘I can’t don’t this’ rattling around my head.”

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.”

The 40 year old charity has taken nearly 50,000 people to sea, many of whom have physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or faced other challenges in their lives. Although focused mainly on the UK, their mission has reached every continent and over 150 countries.

During the organisation’s voyages, which are typically a week or longer, the ship is crewed by people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. 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.

The charity has a challenging business model, with two expensive ships to operate, and has been operating without any significant reserves for some time. Despite recent progress improving its financial footing, it has been hit by short-term cash flow issues brought about by the deferral of some partner projects to 2020 and unplanned engineering issues on both ships.

Their aim is to raise £1m this week to safeguard the future of their work and Trustees will meet on Monday July 8th to determine the organisation’s fate.

If you would like to learn more about the JST, or support their emergency appeal, then visit their website: https://jst.org.uk/emergencyappeal/

About The Jubilee Sailing Trust

At The Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) our Vision is of an inclusive world where we can all contribute and feel valued. We have a unique Mission, to give people of mixed abilities and circumstances the freedom to explore their ability, potential and place in the world through inclusive adventures at sea.

JST aims to make a difference to the lives of all our participants, but we know that our impact is especially strong for some social groups, including disabled people and those with mental health conditions or long-term ill health issues; the lonely or socially isolated; those dealing with significant challenges or change in their career or educational life; and people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

During our inclusive sailing adventures, people become deeply immersed in an intense and challenging ocean experience where conditions can be unpredictable. Diverse teams work together to perform tasks with real responsibilities. In our adaptive and enabling environment, everyone is seen and treated as equal and contributes to the best of their ability. Aboard our ships barriers break down, differences disappear, social bonds form and people start to appreciate the ability and potential in others.

Beneficiaries leave our voyages with new skills and more aware of their own strengths and capabilities. They gain beliefs and attitudes that help them tackle the limitations in their life. They feel more free to explore their ability, potential and place in the world.

Please view the Jubilee Sailing Trust video that recently won Silver in the UK Charity Film Awards (Short film category), which brings our work to life very well: http://jst.org.uk/seachange/