Historic Lowestoft yacht gains funding boost

The Leila under sail Picture: Leila Sailing Trust

The Leila under sail Picture: Leila Sailing Trust - Credit: Archant

An historic yacht based in Lowestoft has received a £295,000 funding boost to help take hundreds of young people from Suffolk and Norfolk out to sea.

The Leila Sailing Trust has been given £278,430 by the Big Lottery Fund and a further £17,000 by the People's Health Trust.

The trust will use the money as part of its four year New Horizons project to take more than 400 young people out on the 42ft yacht Leila, which was built in 1892 and is now berthed at Lowestoft harbour following a major restoration project.

It is hoped that voyages aboard the Leila will teach young people new skills and help them to take advantage of new jobs created in the offshore industry.

David Beavan, the skipper of the Leila, said: 'The project involves tailor made training skills with hands-on marine skills which will help youngsters progress towards an apprenticeship in the marine industry.

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'Sail training has been proven to increase self confidence and raise people's aspirations. On a sailing voyage everybody has to work together, live together, take responsibility and learn new skills which can be applied in all walks of life.

'The trainees will also be taught how to drive a powerboat and gain Royal Yachting Association level two certificates, which are essential for working on water.

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'We want young people with a sense of adventure and the character to shape their own life prospects.

'The classroom is not the only place to learn new skills and we can make it fun as well as useful.

'We are determined that local communities get a chance to share in the major investment due to come into the area.

'This is an exciting time to help kick start the local economy after the demise of shipbuilding and fishing.'

The People's Health Trust funding of £17,000 will be aimed at 18 to 25 year olds from the Cobholm and Southtown areas of Great Yarmouth.

Since undergoing a £175,000 complete restoration programme at Southwold harbour over five years, the Leila has taken part in tall ships races and took part in last month's international Thames regatta.

The Leila Sailing Trust is also looking for new trustees to take the project forward and is also appealing for volunteers as powerboat trainers, sailing mates and organisers.

A trainee mate will also be taken on next year and it is hoped that the Leila will be skippered and crewed by local people by the time the New Horizons project is completed.

The Leila was restored at Harbour Marine Services on Southwold Harbour and was officially re-launched in July 2012 by the Leila Sailing Trust, which had taken her on in 2008.

She is named as the fifth oldest sailing yacht in the UK by the National Historic Ships Register.

Anyone young people interested in sailing on the Leila and anyone who wants to volunteer should email Mr Beavan at info@leila2c.org

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