Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, has nominated Excelsior Trust, a charity that provides life changing sailing experiences for young and disadvantaged people, to receive £1,000 donated by the trade body bacta, which represents seaside arcades, piers and related attractions.
He says, “The Excelsior Trust is a unique operation that offers disadvantaged, at risk and socially excluded young people a vital lifeline and a chance to expand their horizons and get away from the risks of petty crime and alcohol and substance abuse.
“It’s a really important charity, but at a time when many people are uncertain about their futures, the Trust is left vulnerable. For many, preserving this unique opportunity for young people is at the back of their mind when they are concerned about their livelihoods and health.
“Bacta’s donation will be so important and I’m most grateful to their members’ generosity. Excelsior is not just a ship, or a heritage centre but a vital part of the local community, a social diversion for young people, and bacta’s help will ensure that it survives this pandemic ready to play it’s part in supporting the Lowestoft community for years to come.”
John Wylson, Vice President of The Excelsior Trust says, “We are extremely grateful for the support and for the generosity of Bacta and to Peter Aldous MP for nominating us. Excelsior has been authentically restored which means that she requires specialist skills to keep her sailing. Ships continue to corrode and weather all the time and as you might expect, maintaining a 17-berth 100-ton traditional wooden sailing vessel in tip top condition and fully certified ready for the start of each sail training season requires an extensive refit. This involves our own and hired in skilled labour. Having no income to get through next winter’s refit, we are appealing for support so that EXCELSIOR can continue to be seen from our shores, and so that groups of up to twelve young trainees can look back at the UK from a new perspective.”
Bacta launched its Siding With the Seaside (#sidingwiththeseaside) campaign last year in order to support the seaside communities served by their members and to highlight the lack of government investment that threatens the precious heritage in many seaside towns.
Bacta CEO John White says, “The situation was already serious for many seaside towns whose communities have suffered through lack of employment and local investment. However, when we went into lockdown just before the Easter holidays, the position became far more serious as local businesses were forced to shut and the seasonal trade, which is so vital, was lost. Our members made a total of £23,000 available to give to seaside charities via the MPs who we have got to know through our seaside campaigning work and who are best placed to know who would benefit most.”
Bacta represents the owners and operators of seaside amusement arcades, over-18 amusement centres, and the companies that hire machines to pubs, clubs, bowling alleys, bingo halls and similar venues. It also represents the manufacturers and distributors of all types of amusement equipment. This can range from children’s rides, to jukeboxes, fruit machines in pubs and clubs, crane grabbers, penny falls, tuppeny nudgers, test your strength machines, videos, pool tables and gaming machines