23rd Feb 2022

Photo: Volunteers on the Williams II vessel. 

A vital grant from the EDF Energy Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, has helped Blyth Tall Ship stay operational following the Covid pandemic and offer highly skilled training in marine engineering to unemployed local residents.  

Blyth Tall Ship received £19,800 which allowed them to refit their Williams II vessel to enable social distancing at sea. This has helped them to host more functions and create income to sustain the organisation. 

The grant also went towards the build of their ‘Zulu’ offshore herring trawler, a project that provides current and future trainees with an invaluable work experience in a highly skilled and rare profession. Trainees were able to work on the build as part of their NVQ qualifications in marine engineering, most of whom went on to find work as a result of it. 

Pete Barrett, Senior Programme Advisor at the Community Foundation said: 

“Blyth Tall Ship should be commended for having created a clear pathway from training to jobs in the maritime sector. The projects also demonstrate the desire to ensure the self-sufficiency of an organisation key to the local community and economy”.  

Clive Gray, Chief Executive, Blyth Tall Ship explained how the grant helped the sustainability of the organisation: 

“We were fortunate and delighted to receive funding from EDF to keep us afloat (literally) in a time when few were supporting charities financially. All our trainees found work during the period, our ship was able to take people out for life changing experiences last summer and our new build ship came on leaps and bounds, with the wood now maturing for the planks and future trainees able to learn new and rare skills”. 

For more information about funding opportunities at the Community Foundation visit www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply 

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