Little Lives UK has recently donated £2,000 to Tall Ships Youth Trust based in Portsmouth, Hampshire to help funding towards a four-night voyage. Tall Ship Youth Trust gives the opportunity to young people aged 12-25, who are either struggling at school, are at risk of exclusion or who are part of a disadvantaged group the opportunity to learn new life skills, interact with people and locations they may not have before and take part in activities that they may not have before.
The trust focuses its teachings on sailing, teamwork and experiencing things that may be out of some of the young people’s comfort zones. For a lot of young people who are benefitting from the trust, it may be the first time they have been on a ship or even seen the ocean, so the new experiences though exciting for a lot of them, may come with some nerves. It is with the fantastic team of Skippers and crew that help the children overcome any nerves and feelings of being excluded by getting them involved in all of the activities they are comfortable to do and push their boundaries where possible.
Our Visit to Tall Ships Youth Trust
We were kindly invited to Tall Ships Youth Trust to meet the team and see their ships and had the amazing opportunity to have a tour of one of the four 72ft Challenger yachts that are operated by the trust. The ships were built around 20 years ago to sail around the world against the winds. They are fully equipped for long voyages and offer enough room for a crew of up to 18 to sleep, eat, relax and sleep onboard.
One of the trust’s volunteers, David Thompson, gave us a full tour to show how and where the young people work together and learn their new skills onboard. Being a relatively cramped space, the ship offers a chance for young people to learn tolerance and an understanding of each other in space that most people are not used to. Being part of a community on a ship and in a relatively cramped space offers the young people a different perspective on how deal with other people in a close proximity and tolerating and working together with different people.
The tour showed us the living quarters, the control area, the kitchen (known as the galley), the toilets (heads), the radio equipment and the storage, which becomes home from home for the voyages. With the help of volunteers, young people are given an opportunity to try something new and overcome fears.
Who does the trust help?
The Tall Ships Youth Trust aims to support young people who are facing exclusion from society, are disadvantaged or facing challenges such as learning, physical or mental difficulties, caring responsibilities, are from an excluded group, are from a low-income family, not in employment, education or training, and those on the cusp, or are involved in criminal activity.
What happens on the voyages?
When the young people join one of the trust’s ships, they are given the opportunity to learn how to sail and live with other people. All of the children will help to do all of the tasks which include helming the ship, raising the sails, cleaning, cooking, navigating the ship and navigating the vessel at night.
The four-night voyages tend to sail along the south coast of the UK, from Portsmouth to either Poole or to Weymouth and then back again.
For a lot of young people this will be the first time on a ship and the first time sailing for themselves, so for a lot of children, the four-night voyage is a long time away from home or at sea. All of the new skills they will learn can be transferred into real life situations and be used to gain a higher level of self-confidence.
The effect the voyages have on young people
Whilst speaking with David Thompson we were told about a couple of cases of young people overcoming their fears when going on deck and climbing the mast whilst at sea. After a couple of days of not wanting to, but edging slightly closer to the goal of climbing the mast, they managed to do it.
Along with the volunteer’s wealth of knowledge and understanding nature, the children are given the opportunity to try something new and work with people they may not have worked with before.
This really helps to boost their confidence, self-esteem and self-belief. Without the tasks they are given, they would not be encouraged to try something new and overcome their fears.
What results does the trust get?
Whilst speaking with Tall Ships Youth Trust’s Communications and Events Officer, Kelly Field, we were told about the schools, individuals and organisations that have participated in voyages with the trust and how some of the children do not know each other before joining the ship but have left after working with each other over a few days as good friends and close. This is one of the best outcomes from a voyage.
The trust also has reported that 96% of those who participated had improved their team working skills, 95% were better able to manage their feelings, 94% had improved communication skills, 93% had increased confidence and self-esteem and 91% had improved their leadership skills.
We are proud to be working with Tall Ships Youth Trust because of all the amazing work they do with young people across the UK.