Last week, 10 young people from Eastern England benefitted from a five-day ‘Voyage of Exploration’ with Tall Ships Youth Trust (TSYT), thanks to a significant donation from the International Association of Cape Horners (IACH).
The young people, five boys and five girls all aged from 12 to 18 were St John Ambulance (SJA) cadets from across the East of England.
Formed in 1956, TSYT is a youth development and outdoor learning charity that empowers young people nationwide to realise their full potential, supporting them on their journey to adulthood and for some, careers in the maritime sector and the blue economy.
Each year, more than 1,000 young people benefit from a life-changing voyage with TSYT, which has a particular focus on working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The young people’s adventure on board Challenger 3, one of four 72ft Challenger yachts owned by TSYT, finished in Portsmouth on Friday 25 August. There, they were welcomed into port by members of the IACH, which has made a significant donation in support of the voyage.
Tanish (14) from Cambridgeshire, who was part of the youth crew, said: “I was pretty nervous at the start of the week and unsure of what to expect, but I wouldn’t usually have the chance to do something like this. Sailing is something that I’ve always wanted to try, so I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”
A TSYT ‘Voyage of Exploration’ is the first stage of the charity’s new three-voyage programme (of Exploration, Empowerment and Leadership) which was launched at the start of this year. The programme has been specifically designed to offer young people long-term support and provide them with skills and competencies to sustain them throughout their lives.
This model aligns seamlessly with SJA’s national youth programmes, which operate across England supporting young people to build their confidence and gain important life skills.
Josh Draper, District Youth Lead for St John Ambulance Cambridgeshire, said: “Our partnership with TSYT began last year, but this summer we decided to open the opportunity up to our cadets from across the East of England including Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.
“We’ve already had great feedback from parents and guardians since our return. Many have said that the voyage has made their children more confident, open with their emotions, and some are even considering a change of career aspirations.
“It’s with thanks to support from both Tall Ships Youth Trust and the International Association of Cape Horners, that we’ve been able to provide this life-changing opportunity to our cadets.”
This is the second consecutive year that the IACH has fundraised to offer young people the chance to benefit from a TSYT voyage via its bursary scheme.
The IACH is an association for seafarers who have rounded Cape Horn, also known as the ‘Mount Everest of the Seas, under sail on a continuous passage of more than 3,000 nautical miles.
Pippa Cockhead, IACH Membership Secretary, said: “My very first experience of sailing was actually on board one of TSYT’s previous schooner vessels, Malcolm Miller and I think it’s such a fantastic organisation.
“We hope that this contribution has enabled these young people to experience the joy and the freedom of sailing, while benefitting from the skills and knowledge passed on by the crew.
“Sailing really is more than just getting the boat to move, it’s about developing teamwork, integrating with other people and learning skills in a fun and completely unique environment.”
Learn more about Tall Ships Youth Trust’s vital youth development work at: www.tallships.org