Financial viability is ensured by the provision of a range of sailing activities that between them support the Foundation’s charitable aims and enable the vessels to be kept in operation from the beginning of April to October each year, providing regular employment for their crews.
Since Trinity was established around 10,000 disadvantaged young people have benefitted from participation in the carefully-structured offshore sail training courses that the Foundation provides. These are aimed at assisting the young people to grow in confidence and self-esteem, learn new life skills and develop experience in working as part of a team, and encourage leadership, self reliance and other attributes that will stand them in good stead in later years.
These young people come to the Foundation in groups, accompanied by adult staff who are involved in their ongoing welfare. During their time at sea the adult staff and the young people live and work together 24 hours a day, typically for a week at a time – which is the maximum length of time most of the young people are willing to commit to, and the maximum that the adult staff can be released from their core duties and responsibilities. Fortunately, in that time initial reservations and barriers are quickly broken down and within 24-48 hours new group dynamics have emerged. By the end of the voyage the attitudes, self-belief and expectations of the young people are transformed.
The motivation and willingness to attempt new challenges that the experience engenders can be taken back to their home environment and built upon.
Beginning in 2017, Trinity now also works with organisations that assist ex-service people who are being helped to recover from physical, emotional and mental health problems.
The Foundation is a registered provider of Residentials and Expeditions for young people who are participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. It also runs Royal Yachting Association training courses for a variety of nautical vocational qualifications.
In addition there is an extensive programme of cruising and charter voyages that enable members of the general public to learn about maritime heritage and actively participate in helping sail the vessels, which informs and educates them about the skills and qualities needed for life under traditional sail. The income from these provides the funds that support the ongoing maintenance and conservation effort.
All of the organisations that bring disadvantaged young people to participate in sail training activities contribute what they can towards the cost of providing them. Few can afford the full cost, however, and the Foundation’s fundraising efforts are directed mainly at enabling it to bridge the gap.
In the present economic climate, with pressure on education and welfare budgets, and grant-making trusts limited in the awards they feel able to make to charities like the Trinity Sailing Foundation, is simply is not possible to keep all three vessels full, and their crews employed, on sail training alone, which is why the other activities are so vital.
What we say is that our two aims – youth welfare and heritage – are complementary: our type of vessel is ideal for delivering meaningful and important outcomes for deserving young people, and using them for a socially beneficial purpose helps ensure their survival.