COVID-19 – TALL SHIPS  OPERATIONAL STATEMENT

11/11/2020

In March, the Tall Ships Youth Trust made the difficult but necessary decision to suspend all voyages. Since August, we have successfully and safely run a limited number of highly successful day sails - taking young people out to sea in a guideline compliant way - but of course even these now have had to stop. Throughout, we have not been allowed to sail residentially, and this has been incredibly challenging – both to our beneficiaries, and to the charity.

Over the last eight months, we have been doing everything we can to reduce our overheads and sustain our income. We have also been working tirelessly to get approval to sail again so we can fulfil our charitable mission – which is now even more important than ever because vulnerable young people have unquestionably been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic.

We have lobbied government extensively to give us the green light to start sailing again. Our efforts have included one-to-one meetings with Ministers and personal letters to them and their officials from Peers of the Realm (and many of you!) Our efforts have received national exposure, and you can view some of our recent press coverage via the links below:

At the same time, we have also set up our own Covid rapid-testing protocol, to screen staff and voyagers both on the jetty before embarkation, and during the voyage. The TravelSafe ICGene LAMP rapid-testing system is an EU accredited system and is in use across Europe. It gives a 100% reliable result in just 40 minutes. This means we can test crew members on the jetty, embark in a sterilised boat, and set sail - Covid-safe - for a week. We therefore believe we have all the necessary safety measures in place to set sail again as soon as national lockdown measures conclude, without risk to our people, or to their families. We will continue to make this point vigorously to government, and to highlight the severe impact of the pandemic on our beneficiaries, until logic and reason prevail.

As a result of the new national lockdown, and continued government stasis on the guidelines, we have no option but to remain in a period of  hibernation with our boats alongside, until the guidelines change, test and trace becomes effective,  or a vaccine is deployed. Throughout this period, the Charity will undertake essential activities only, so we can conserve our resources for the time when we can resume our life-changing work.

The financial impact of the charity sustaining a period of hibernation - now likely to be until April 2021 - continues to hit us hard. Until we are able to set sail again, we will be working tirelessly to elicit the necessary resources to get us through this unprecedented period.  

We are incredibly grateful to all our loyal supporters who have already donated to our appeals over the last few months. Without your support, things could look quite different right now. However – despite all our best efforts - we still need your help to reach calmer waters and beyond and therefore must extend our appeal until we are able to return to sailing.

Donate to the Calmer Waters Appeal 

Your help is crucial for our work with young people and the future of the Trust. Because of your incredible support, and the work of the Tall Ships team in these extreme circumstances, we are still here and fighting, eight months into the pandemic. A huge thank you for staying with us through these extraordinarily hard times, from everyone at the Tall Ships Youth Trust – especially the young people you are helping, and will continue to help in the months and years to come.