A major fundraising drive is underway to repair a tall ship so it can be used to take young people on inspirational sailing trips around Plymouth again.
Mórvargh Sailing Project, based at The Marina at Sutton Harbour in Plymouth, has welcomed more than 348 young people aged 14 to 25 onboard since its launch, teaching them everything from leadership and resourcefulness to teamwork while getting to grips with all aspects of sailing a tall ship.
The social enterprise began voyages in 2010 but urgent repairs meant the scheme had to be suspended in 2013. The Community Interest Company has since been fundraising to generate the £12,000 needed to replace the rigging and renew safety equipment.
To reach its goal, a series of fundraising events have been organised throughout the summer in a bid to relaunch the project’s 57ft tall ship, the Helen Mary R.
One of the highlights of the fundraising schedule took place during the Sutton Harbour Plymouth Classic Boat Rally in July, when a yacht worth around £4,000 was raffled off.
More than £1,000 was raised by people keen to win the boat, which was donated by the Dolphin House Brazzerie restaurant in Sutton Harbour. Hannah Blore, who entered her own vessel in the rally, was the lucky winner of the grand prize.
Matt Barraud, co-director of Mórvargh Sailing Project, said: “We have worked so hard to raise the money needed to get the Helen Mary R back to sea and can’t thank all of our supporters enough for their generosity. We’ve still got a way to go but hopefully we can reach our total and start inviting more young people to enjoy our voyages from next season.”
The Marina at Sutton Harbour has given a huge boost to the fundraising drive, sponsoring the project and offering free berthing for the vessel, saving the team hundreds of pounds a month.
“I have been bowled over by the amazing support of Sutton Harbour Holdings Plc and The Marina, it has made such a difference,” Matt said. “They have shown such faith in the project and for them to do that, when Helen Mary R isn’t sailing, is phenomenal.”
As well as the classic boat raffle, a quiz and auction has also been held at the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth, bringing the fundraising total to £8,600.
Matt is set to spend 24 hours floating in a life raft in Sutton Harbour as an eye-catching fundraising event with the hope of raising even more cash for the project.
Matt added: “So far we have raised enough money to buy 450 metres of wire to replace the rigging and hopefully, if all goes well, we can be sailing again next season.
“When you get these young people on board it makes such a difference and I guarantee that some will make life changing discoveries about themselves and what they can do if they put their mind to it.”