On 3rd December 2008 the spotlight falls on the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities sees this internationally recognised charity, with disability awareness at its heart reflect on 30 years of changing lives.
Set up by schoolteacher, Christopher Rudd in 1977 the JST developed as a result of his frustration over the lack of offshore sailing available to people with physical abilities.
Rudd’s determination to address this problem, coupled with a donation from the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Appeal Fund in 1978, saw the birth of the JST and the realisation of its mission to integrate able-bodied and physically disabled people through the challenge of ocean tall ship sailing.
Lord Nelson, the Trust’s first ship, was launched after years of pilot schemes undertaken on adapted vessels in the early 1980’s proved the integration of able bodied and physically disabled crew was not only a possibility, but a successful reality.
Today the JST owns and operates two magnificent tall ships, Lord Nelson and Tenacious. Tenacious, built in response to the high demand for the 40 crew places offered aboard Lord Nelson, gives the JST the opportunity to provide adventure sailing holidays for up to 80 people on voyages during 46 weeks a year.
Both the ships are completely unique, being the only vessels of their type in the world designed and built with a variety of special features to make them fully accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities.
The Trust sails to a host of destinations ranging from the Caribbean to Scandinavia and competes in the annual Sail Training International (STI) Tall Ships Races. To this day, the JST’s entry in this competition is unique. They remain the only Class A tall ships to sail with a fully mixed ability crew in the 52 year history of the Races.
Interesting voyage destinations and the sense of adventure offered by the Trust attract able bodied and disabled people alike, enabling integration to take place organically.
The JST remains stubbornly faithful to its original mission despite receiving no government funding. The battle to maintain both ships in order provide life changing opportunities to so many deserving people represents a huge financial commitment for the Trust, but one they will not shy away from.
In an appeal for support JST Chief Executive, Amanda Butcher said, “International Day of Persons with Disabilities is the perfect chance for everyone to make a renewed commitment to the principles of dignity and justice for all people regardless of physical ability. With your support the JST can go on enabling all people the right to a truly life changing, confidence building experience that is totally unique in this world”.
She continued, “For us, equality is an every day part or our operation, and the reason we exist. This is rightly something we are very proud of.”
For more information about the JST, and the many ways you can pledge support please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 2380 449108.