Charity gets pounds 4m lottery cash to build ship for disabled crew

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The Independent Online

Arts Reporter

More than pounds 4m of National Lottery money is to be given to a charity that offers sailing holidays for the disabled, it will be announced today.

In the biggest award yet from the Lottery Sports Fund, the Jubilee Sailing Trust is to be given pounds 4,068,000 to build a specially adapted tall ship to allow the disabled and able- bodied to crew it at sea.

The trust, founded in 1978, applied for the money after it found itself unable to satisfy demand for the pounds 370-a-week working holidays on its Southampton-based tall ship, the Lord Nelson.

Its second ship - which will also be a three-masted barque - is to be built of wood, with the help of the physically disabled. The total cost will be pounds 6.8m, of which the charity still has to raise pounds 1.7m.

It will be fitted with wheelchair lifts between decks, spacious berths, wide decks and gadgets such as audio compasses to allow blind and deaf people to participate fully.

Pippa Lowe, spokeswoman for the Jubilee Sailing Trust, said that the charity was formed to make available adventure holidays which the disabled and able-bodied could go on together.

Many of the 40 passengers on each trip would be related, such as a son and his disabled father, she added. The voyages lasted four to 11 days and usually included a stop in northern Europe. Clients range in age from 16 to over 70, and because the ship will ply around Britain, access will be available throughout the country.

Ms Lowe added: "Years of planning will now come to fruition, and once built, the new ship will enrich the lives of over 50,000 people of all ages and physical abilities."

The Jubillee Sailing Club award is the biggest since the sports fund made its first grants in March. The previous largest donation by the fund, which expects an income of pounds 175m this year, was pounds 2.7m to the University of Bath toward the cost of a multi-sports training village.

Up to today, the fund has handed out pounds 36m out of pounds 80m in total costs for 267 projects. The Sports Council expects to have distributed about pounds 1.6bn of National Lottery money by 2000.