Extra funds for Lowestoft heritage ship maritime development project

The Lowestoft Water Taxi is set to launch at Easter.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The Lowestoft Water Taxi is set to launch at Easter.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A project to preserve and develop Lowestoft's maritime sector has been given the funding to continue and two busaries are being launched for young people to train in boatbuilding and other forms of woodwork.

The Shipshape East Anglia project was launched in 2014, with the aim of preserving historic ships and shipbuilding and drawing money and skills into the local economy.

The project, funded by the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF), has been run collaboratively by National Historic Ships UK (NHSU), a government funded group that provides guidance on historic vessels, and the International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) in Oulton Broad North, which provide boatbuilding and joinery courses.

Funding for the project was originally meant to finish on December 31 but will now continue, allowing NHSU and IBTC to develop the project and offer more training.

As part of the extra funding two bursaries have been set up offering two young people between 18-25 a fully funded, two-year boat building course.

There will also be a number of grants available for short courses for professionals working in the traditional sailing sector.

The project extension was announced at the Shipshape Network event at Oulton Broad on Wednesday, which aimed to reflect on the project and its successes.

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The project successfully started running a water taxi between Nutford Lock and Lowestoft and a saw mill, in Oulton Broad.

Francesco Marrella, Shipshape East Anglia HUB Co-ordinator, said the continuation of funding would allow them to continue running these in the hope of making them economically self-sufficient so that they begin to fund themselves.

He said the project was 'one of the few in the country to have this sort of privilege' and that it would help bring prosperity to the town.

He said: 'This area has everything you need to be a successful town, it has huge heritage, very trust worthy people, why is it not working out?'

'The project really creates a difference for the economy of the area and the history and culture of the area and the people of the area.'

'The training will be great experience and will make everyone more employable.'

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