Please feel free to continue submitting your questions to covidrecoverycampaign@jst.org.uk  We will try to address as many of them as possible in the days to come.

  • What did you do with the funds raised in your 2019 ‘Emergency Appeal’, and why did you decommission Lord Nelson even though you were successful in raising your £1.2M target?

    The amazing £1.2M raised in one week in July 2019 ensured that the JST survived, and was able to continue operating and delivering our mission. The funds allowed us to do this, to honour our voyage programme and bookings on both ships for the rest of that year, as well as to make repayments to our trade creditors (debts owed). We consulted with our financial advisors and underwent a significant restructure. To halve the significant operating costs of two ships we decommissioned STS Lord Nelson, the first tall ship in the world built so that disabled and non-disabled people could sail together. The difficult decision to move down to a single ship came following extensive discussion about options for reducing the financial risks in our model and against latest forecasts for the current and following financial year.

    Whilst both ships held loyal followings as shown by feedback from our voyage crew and supporters, we chose to decommission Lord Nelson rather than Tenacious for several reasons, including: Tenacious’ larger capacity for beneficiaries (voyage crew); her more modern accommodation, layout and equipment; upcoming large-scale regulatory works for both ships requiring new machinery (e.g. engines and generators) which would have brought various operating costs to a similar level to Lord Nelson’s, had she remained in commission, and; Tenacious’ higher asset value (£3.5M, versus Lord Nelson’s £1.2M). 

    It is without doubt that the decisions made following the 2019 appeal placed JST in a much stronger financial position to weather the completely unpredictable events to come in 2020 through to 2022, as well as the major undertaking of our c.£650k regulatory five year Tenacious special survey in 2021.

  • Why was there such short notice to launch this appeal if the situation is as bad as it is?

    Since the pandemic outbreak in March 2020 we have been investigating many avenues to bring a sustainable future to JST. We won a high profile pilot charter with the Royal Navy to give leadership training at sea to their recruits and officers, sought support from the Government’s covid recovery grants, and the furlough scheme. Unfortunately we were not successful with government recovery grants as our application was not supported by the bank. We have pursued lottery funding, grants from charitable trusts and foundations, and individuals who have had significant involvement in our past, as well as looking into new sources of funding. 

    Sadly some of our donors, including those giving five figure donations and above, lost their lives to the pandemic. Specialist charities like ours experienced a general reduction in giving during the pandemic, as people rightly chose to support the NHS and most recently to the people of Ukraine. The growing increase in the cost of living has also restricted many people’s ability to have extra money to give to charity.

    A key negative factor has been the impact of the pandemic on our ability to deliver public voyages. When we sail we receive revenues from selling subsidised berths, which stimulates fundraising.

    Our income from both voyage bookings and fundraising would normally sustain our day-to-day fixed operating costs and allow us to prepare for both identified or emergent investment needed onboard Tenacious. Both of these income streams have taken a huge loss, making our forecasting unpredictable. Unfortunately the wonderful support we have received over the past few years has not been enough to meet the challenges we have been presented with.

    With very little bank overdraft headroom to support our known and unknown commitments, and an inability to restructure our financial position against our asset base, cash flow reached a sudden critical point which led to the bank withdrawing its desire to further support JST.

    In those circumstances it was imperative that we sought financial and legal advice through our advisers. The trustees unanimously agreed to make every effort to avoid taking our two operating companies into administration. 

    JST onshore staff and full and part time crew were consulted, and agreed to commit to work unpaid to try and redeem the position. The window to do this had to be short to avoid worsening the overall position, and to take place whilst Tenacious was in a maintenance period and before she is due to recommence her voyage programme on April the 22nd.

  • What was the financial impact on voyage income due to the pandemic?

    In March 2020 when Covid hit we had to bring Tenacious back to the UK instead of delivering her planned Mediterranean, Monaco, Cyprus and the Greek Islands programme, which had also included a high-profile series of fundraising events and opportunities. The cancellation of the 2020 programme meant a loss in c.£300k predicted voyage income alone, without factoring in potential income from the planned fundraising.

    Due to the constantly changing restrictions affecting the programme in 2021, the income lost was c.£400k. When we were finally able to sail, we did so at a reduced capacity (to allow for social distancing, and isolation if required), and our voyage costs increased by c.£3k a week due to increased sanitation protocols, regular testing and PPE for all crew and volunteers to ensure the safety onboard Tenacious. 

    The expected cash flow for the 2022/23 season will be less than advertised as we still hold deposits from voyages that were rescheduled or cancelled, and even some deposits dating back to 2019. Knowing that most voyage crew’s insurance policies would not cover the impact of the pandemic, we honoured these bookings and the majority have re-booked on to our upcoming voyages.

  • What will the immediate £500k and total £1.2M be spent on if you are successful?

    The £500k will immediately allow us to settle some of our key debt which would stop the JST from operating, pay unpaid wages, taxes, and an existing repayment plan with HMRC, to cover known regulatory expenditure and ship costs (for example surveys and berthing fees), and to offset some of our debt with our bank to ensure we can start meeting direct debits and other payments drawn from the account.

    It will also be used to cover our regular monthly expenses, which include water, food, fuel, waste disposal and electricity for the ship, administration, loan repayments, and other bills. 

    The £1.2M total includes the £500k, plus all the ongoing and previously listed known expenditure required to operate Tenacious and deliver our mission, to take us forward beyond the end of September 2022. This has been calculated at £700k, making the total required £1.2M.

  • What will happen to the donations made if you do not reach £500k?

    All donations toward the £500k target are being ring fenced and, should the worst occur, all donations will be refunded.

  • What will happen to the donations made if you reach £500k, but do not reach £1.2M?

    Following achieving the £500k target, we will continue to fundraise diligently to cover the daily operating costs of the charity. Donations toward the £700k target will not be ring fenced as Tenacious will be delivering her UK voyage programme, which is accompanied with continuous expenditure. 

    We will be receiving regular voyage income as balances are paid in advance of sailing, and several key events are hoped to bolster our fundraising, including our prominent presence at Cowes Week (as one of the partner charities), and, hopefully, the sale of Lord Nelson. Whilst we hope very much that the situation will not arise, if we are unable to reach the additional £700k target we will be at risk once again.

  • What changes will you make to ensure you will not be in this position again?

    It is crucially important to recognise the current exceptional challenges that exist nationally and internationally. The fact that JST survived the two years of the pandemic and the growing challenges of the high cost of living is a remarkable achievement.

    However, it is evident changes must be made. We are being supported by external advisers to review our business model without compromising our unique mission. Our immediate priority is to avoid the threat of closing our operational companies by taking them into administration. 

    We are also focusing on completing the sale of Lord Nelson and looking at a sale and lease-back arrangement for Tenacious. 

  • What has happened to Lord Nelson, can she be sold to raise funds?

    Lord Nelson has been berthed in Bristol since we decommissioned her in late 2019. We investigated options to use her as an alongside asset to our mission, but were not able to find any options that we would have been able to afford to deliver. At the start of 2020 there were several parties interested in buying her, with one looking very promising, however unfortunately the pandemic outbreak meant the prospective buyer was no longer able to commit to her purchase. We are currently in constructive dialogue with a potential buyer which we hope will lead to a successful sale.

  • How can you justify your shore team size and structure?

    The JST’s shore team has reduced from 30, pre-2019 appeal, to a total of 5 part time and 11 full time members (FTE: 13). Of these, our Senior Leadership Team consists of our CEO, Director (on maternity leave), Operations Director, Head of Finance and Governance, and Head of Fundraising. Each member is an expert in their field and leads a small and dedicated team. 

    In 2021 we moved away from fixed offices in London and Southampton. We now run as a virtual organisation, utilising cloud-based storage, collaborative online-working tools, and a digital phone service (our registered address in Southampton is a secure handling facility that means we can still safely receive donations or parcels by post). 

    Whilst we are still under lease at our Woolston address, with all services disconnected our costs are greatly decreased. We have been looking for new leaseholders to take the premises. 

    All our Trustees, including our Chair, are volunteers and are not paid. Our salary information and any expenses claimed by Trustees are published in our Annual Reports, registered with the Charity Commission, and can be publicly viewed online here. No one at the JST receives bonuses and commission. 

  • Why have you closed the campaign’s main fundraising platform (Enthuse) and switched to a different one?

    Due to the short notice of the appeal launch, we needed to use existing platforms already set up so that our supporters could make donations quickly and securely. Enthuse is a popular online  platform that enables fundraising for different campaigns, meaning we could clearly distinguish all donations made to the covid recovery campaign vs previous/existing fundraising support. We also needed to use a platform that would be able to refund donors on our behalf should we be unsuccessful. 

    Now we have been able to continue operating (as per our update on 19/4/2022), we have closed the Enthuse campaign page and switched to a donation form on our website.

    The new form is secure submission and is handled by Stripe for card payments. It means that we will receive 100% of your support, with only standard card handling fees applied. We have previously used website forms like this when fundraising for our ‘Pulling Together’ appeal and other online campaigns. The form also integrates into our main databases, reducing the time spent processing your kind donations.

JST

JST