Please feel free to continue submitting your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org We will try to address as many of them as possible in the days to come.
Please feel free to continue submitting your questions to email@example.com We will try to address as many of them as possible in the days to come.
The JST has not operated with any significant reserves (savings) since Tenacious was built and has been working hard to increase our income to allow this to happen. In 2015, Trustees set an aim of building reserves of £0.5m which would help sustain the JST in the event of any unplanned expenditure and support future investment needs.
Under a two ship model, the JST is unlikely to build an operating reserve until we reach c. £4.5m, which would be the level of income and expenditure that would allow us to operate a full, proactive, planned maintenance programme that would allow us to maintain the ships to a higher standard and make the experience onboard even more accessible and comfortable. This would also allow us to address maintenance issues on the ship before they materialise in service.
This £4.5m number is much greater than what the trust has spent historically. This is because the JST needs to catch-up on some deferred investment on the ships. It also reflects an increase in the age-related running costs of both vessels, the impact of operating in an increasingly regulated environment (onshore and offshore) and increased investments in fundraising, which are necessary to grow income and compete in an increasingly competitive charitable environment.
We set about growing income by introducing a partnerships programme. We chose to launch this programme because it would improve our earning from activities onboard the ships and also increase our charitable impact. Earning would increase because partner projects were intended to be self-funding (generating c. £55,000 per week) and would contribute almost double the income than public voyages, which are 50% subsidised by the JST’s fundraising. They would also increase our impact by helping us reach, and work with, new groups of beneficiaries.
The JST has also considerably strengthened our Fundraising Team – and continues to do so – so we can raise funds from higher value applications and major donors, alongside our more established gifts from smaller contributors.
The combined impact of this work has increased our core income by around £1m per year. Reflecting this, our forecast (unaudited) results for the financial year ending March 2019 will see a break-even result, with income and costs balanced at £3.9m. This is over a £1m more than our average income in the period Financial Year 2011 to Financial Year 2014 but, despite this progress, the JST is still c. £0.5m short of its income target and has, as a consequence, still been unable to build the reserves it needs.
Without these reserves, the JST is vulnerable to shock and in the last 18 months, financial pressure has increased because of a number of unplanned engineering works during 2016, 2017 and 2018 on both ships. Across three financial years, these have totalled nearly £1m. As we have not had the funds readily available to service this work, our trade creditor balance (debts owed to people who have provided us with goods or services) has increased significantly. One key test of solvency is being able to pay your debts when they fall due, so it is important that the JST can show continued progress in reducing trade creditor debts.
For the past year, JST has been just about getting by month-to-month, but the situation worsened towards the end of 2018, when we had turnover in two critical income roles during an important time of year before Christmas, which is a peak fundraising period and also when we close out our partnership agreements for the following year. We arranged interim coverage within six weeks, but the impact of this has been slower conversion of some partnership and major gift opportunities this year. Further engineering issues have added to the pressure.
In June, two key pieces of funding (with a total value close to £200,000) were deferred. Without any reserves to draw down upon, this meant we were struggling to service our core costs in June. Furthermore, a number of our trade creditors were seeking urgent payment and it is the combination of these issues that forced the Trustees to initiate an emergency fundraising effort.
Now that we have hit our £1m target, it will give the trust much needed resources to start addressing/negotiating the organisation’s aged creditor balance (debts). It will also provide the working capital needed to stabilise the JST’s finances in the short-term.
The Trustees statement on Monday July 22nd outlines further changes planned to improve the service we offer beneficiaries and stabilise the JST finances in the medium to longer-term. These changes will, undoubtedly, create a new set of challenges. However, as you would expect, the Trustees will explore every option and are primed to take whatever action is necessary to safeguard the organisation’s mission.
As required by the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP), salary information for everyone earning over £60,000 must be disclosed in our Annual Report and Accounts in note 7, which are submitted to the Charity Commission annually and available publicly. Substantial changes have since been made to the organisation in terms of staffing so our annual salary expenditure is much lower this financial year. Under GDPR laws we are unable to share specific individuals salaries, but the SORP requirements are there to offer transparency in terms of salary expenditure. There is also a note in the accounts starting on page 31 which shows how salaries are governed and benchmarked by the Trustees, again this is a SORP requirement for all charities.
At JST, the CEO also leads fundraising and has a significant income generation responsibility (8-10 times salary) and earns £100,000, which is in-line with similar sized charities where the executive leader also has other functional responsibilities. Our CEO not only manages the charity but is an instrumental figure in developing the charity’s income and therefore reach.
No, per Fundraising Regulator Guidelines, the JST does not pay bonuses or commission to any of our employees or Trustees. This is both as part of their ongoing work with the Trust and as/when they decide to leave the organisation. This policy has been consistent for at least the past 5 years.
Furthermore, and as is covered in the next question, JST Trustees are not paid compensation although they are also entitled to claim reasonable expenses. However no Trustee has made an expense claim for at least the past 3 years.
Per Charities Commission guidelines there are very limited situations where Trustees can charge for their services (e.g. the provision of professional advice). They are also entitled to claim reasonable expenses. The JST is compliant with this regulation and very fortunate to have Trustees that fully volunteer their time, working for the JST fully at their own personal expense. No Trustee expense claims have been made for at least the past 3 years.
As you would imagine, we have been taking restructuring advice over the past several months to ensure that the Trustees have acted appropriately in managing the JST’s on-going financial pressures. We now continue to take advice so we can act on the Emergency Appeal success in the most responsible way possible, considering the needs of the JST’s creditors, donors and beneficiaries.
Reflecting this, the reason for the two-week “pause” after the appeal was to allow the Board to update our plans, based on the fundraising appeal outcomes, and then test them internally and externally to establish their feasibility and estimated consequences for the Trust. This will help JST use the funds received in the most appropriate and impactful way.
To help facilitate this, a number of contributors to the appeal kindly gave the Trustees permission to use their donations to provide working capital during this two week period, so that this important work could be done without detriment to the JST’s activities or creditors.
Another factor is that we are also still in the process of receiving some of the larger donations, which have been pledged (formally promised) by individuals and institutions with more complex and lengthy processes for transferring funds. Most of the online donations, via Just Giving, are not received immediately, as this happens on a fortnightly cycle by standard procedure.
Per the recent Trustees’ Statement of July 22nd, funds are now being cautiously used as plans continue to be refined and validated.
For the past nineteen years, we have been working hard to make a two ship model work, as we have always believed it to be in the best interests of our mission and stakeholders. Over recent years, many steps have been taken to try and ensure two ships can be kept in service (See answer to “Why such short notice and how has this come about?”).
However, despite this progress, the Trustees are now of the view it is too risky, expensive and financially challenging to continue operating two ships. The future planned costs to sustain a two-ship fleet are too high, as are the monthly running costs compared to the income we can reliably predict. As a result, moving to a one ship fleet will improve the JST’s financial sustainability by significantly reducing the organisation’s overheads (ongoing costs) and cash needs, both onshore and offshore.
Despite the reduction in overall capacity, moving to a one-ship model has the potential to increase the JST’s charitable impact by allowing us to have a more rigorous application process to determine which crew will sail with us, and by focusing our charitable resources on those who would most benefit from one of our transformative, life-enhancing voyages.
A single vessel will also help the JST deliver a much stronger voyage experience by concentrating investment into crew training, professional development, along with ship maintenance, and other elements that improve life on-board (e.g. upgrading adaptive technologies).
We appreciate that both JST ships are much-loved and have a loyal following. However, the consideration of which vessel to retain had to be taken on purely objective factors and with our beneficiaries in mind.
The decision was made by the Trustee Board, on advice from the JST’s Finance and Audit Committee, Executive Management Team, lawyers and restructuring advisors. Historical data on finances and occupancy were referenced, along with feedback from beneficiaries and partners. Amongst many, the following factors were weighted most heavily in the decision:
Beneficiary Impact: Where provided, voyage feedback indicates a roughly equal split in terms of individual preference; both ships have a regular complement of repeat, loyal disabled sailors and score similarly in terms of voyage feedback from our core beneficiary groups.
The ships are slightly different in design and some of our disabled crew have expressed preferences based on a ship’s suitability for their own particular needs. For example, the narrower decks on Lord Nelson provide more hand-holds. Equally, those crew in wheelchairs generally find the more spacious decks on Tenacious easier to navigate, so they can get around other crew members whilst performing tasks on board. Tenacious has more aids for those with visual impairments. Many disabled crew also comment about the exhilaration of getting further out off the bowsprit than on Lord Nelson.
Overall, it was felt that the needs of our beneficiaries were equally met by both vessels and this was not a major factor in the decision.
However, as we look to the future, Tenacious has 40 voyage crew berths (vs. 36 on Lord Nelson) which means she offers more capacity for beneficiaries overall, including those with disabilities. Reflecting this, in the past five years, Tenacious has taken 2,884 disabled sailors to sea as opposed to 2,506 on Lord Nelson.
In moving down to a single ship, we expect our voyages to be full (or nearly full) year round. This means the additional capacity on Tenacious will have a bearing on our overall impact and ability to generate income.
On-board experience and future investment needs: Both ships are also maintained to a good standard and would be viable options for future use.
However, the Trustees have been carefully monitoring the rising standards of accommodation in other comparable, adventure-based activities (e.g. Youth Hostels) and being set by other tall ship operators around the world. It is clear that beneficiaries expect more and the likely investment required in both ships, both now and in the future, was carefully considered.
Against this context, Tenacious is fifteen years newer, has a lay-out more suited to a variety of activities and has a more modern presentation in accordance with the rising expectations of those who sail with the trust. Whilst the ship will need to be maintained to meet expectations in the future, improvements can be made gradually over time and there are relatively few immediate issues to address.
By contrast, we regularly receive feedback about the tired and dated presentation of Lord Nelson. Her adaptive technologies are also very dated and do not present the JST in accordance with contemporary standards. Whilst this creates a certain charm, it is clear that the ship requires significant investment and the JST had been preparing Lord Nelson for a multi-million pound refit within the next 3-5 years that reflects this.
Other more urgent expenditure needed for Lord Nelson includes the complete replacement of her decks, which are thinning in many areas. Various other core systems are also due for complete replacement or overhaul.
Running costs: Despite the fact Tenacious is a larger ship, the operating costs for both vessels are broadly similar and historical variances are much more driven by the voyage programme of a vessel as opposed to its running costs – for example, we observed a change in the cost base of both Tenacious and Lord Nelson when they ran extensive overseas programmes during “Sail the World” and during the extended Australian deployment.
Whilst it is true that Tenacious currently burns more fuel than Lord Nelson, her engines need a full strip down to satisfy our regulators and Lord Nelson’s engines would also need to go through a similar process in December 2020. In both cases, it would be more cost effective to replace the engines (as opposed to overhaul them) and we expect this will reduce Tenacious fuel consumption by c. 1/3rd and bring it to the same levels as Lord Nelson, had the latter ship been kept in service.
Similarly, pilotage costs can be less on Lord Nelson but there are also numerous examples where both ships fall into the same bracket for these requirements meaning their costs are broadly the same. A much bigger driver of these costs will be the successful implementation of our Hub strategy where we hope to secure in-kind arrangements with key ports around the UK to significantly reduce these types of cost.
Significant maintenance and surveys: Both ships are in a regular programme of dry docking and special survey. Tenacious must complete her 20 year dry docking and special survey by the end of August 2020. Lord Nelson must complete her special survey by December 2020. The scope of core work is similar across both vessels and the project budget is c. £300k in both instances. From a survey perspective, we do not see significant variances in investment needs across both ships (per above, the investment required for refits is a much greater factor) therefore this did not bear significantly on the Trustees’ decision-making.
Other drivers of asset profitability: As part of the decision-making process, Trustees performed extensive analysis on historical trends that were also drivers of profitability – for example voyage programme, occupancy levels, mix of voyages (public vs. partner voyages), yield (earning per berth per day). Small variances were noted on all these points – some favourable to Tenacious, others to Lord Nelson. There was no strong correlation to suggest one vessel was inherently more profitable than the other.
Instead, it was clear that the two major drivers of profitability were as follows:- the number of vessels in operative service within the North Atlantic sea zone (earnings for the vessel remaining in proximate waters improved significantly when the other was on longer-haul international tour) and the mix of voyages (increasing the mix of partner voyages significantly improves vessel profitability).
Comparative asset value: Finally, Tenacious is the more valuable ship (with a balance sheet value of £3.7m as opposed to. £2.2m for Lord Nelson) and this is a consideration given the value of loans secured against both vessels and continued balance sheet solvency (you need to have more assets than liabilities). At present, Tenacious has £2.8m of loans secured against her and Lord Nelson has £0.5m of loans secured against her.
It is likely that taking a ship out of service will negatively impact the value of a vessel to some degree. Therefore, the retention of Tenacious in service provides greater comfort on this, ensuring future balance sheet solvency. Having spoken with our secured creditors, there is no possibility of any loan forgiveness at this point in time.
Our aim is to get as many people as we can to sail with us and to remove as many barriers as we practically can. Please see our previous answer to the question “Why was it decided to keep Tenacious in service as opposed to Lord Nelson? What process was followed and how was this conclusion reached?” regarding the beneficiary impact in the selection of Tenacious as the vessel that will continue in operative service.
The needs of all our crew are considered individually and on a case by case basis. Our medical policy is overseen, refined and managed by independent doctors, and designed to ensure the safety of all onboard and ensure individual needs are supported. We continually review our policies to be as inclusive as possible and to adapt to new technologies on the market. For example, we now welcome an increasing number of crew who have battery assisted manual wheelchairs, which can be accommodated. Over the years, where funds have allowed, we have also made investments to improve our adaptive technologies and features to enhance the experience for all our crew onboard.
We are also looking at non-technical solutions to making our voyages more accessible. Based on crew feedback, we are making ongoing adjustments to our voyage programme to improve accessibility. For example, it now includes more shorter voyages, which are more accessible than longer ocean passages. An increasing number also start and finish in the same port to ease travel to and from the ship.
Once the decision to decommission Lord Nelson had been made, the appropriate timing of this was then considered by Trustees from a number of perspectives.
The fixed elements, which were constant in each scenario (as they would all need to happen before the end of calendar year 2020) were as follows:
– The need for one vessel to deliver the 2019/2020 winter programme and on Mediterranean commitments from April to June 2020;
– The need to complete the Tenacious Dry Docking and special survey by the end of August 2020 (a regulatory requirement and deadline);
– The cost of this dry dock; and
– Team restructuring costs.
Against this context, the three strongest scenarios were then considered and modelled in detail. These were:
1. Have Lord Nelson deliver the winter programme and perform the Tenacious dry docking/special survey across the forthcoming winter months (from December 2019 to March 2020). Then, take Lord Nelson out of service in April 2020, whilst bringing Tenacious back into service;
2. Taking Lord Nelson out of service immediately and performing the Tenacious dry docking/special survey across the forthcoming winter (from December 2019 to March 2020). Then, bringing Tenacious back into service at this time;
3. Taking Lord Nelson out of service immediately and performing the Tenacious dry docking/special survey in the late summer and Autumn of 2020, towards the end of the permitted regulatory period. Then, bringing Tenacious back into service in October 2020;
The variables within these scenarios were as follows:
– Potential changes to the existing voyage programme and the need to pay refunds to voyage crew already booked onto a voyage;
– Anticipated income earned from the voyage programme;
– Expected running costs for the same period (a combination of the ship-specific costs and the head office team required to operate two vessels across the period).
Of the three scenarios, the option 1 was the most expensive by well over £100,000. This is primarily because both ships run at a loss (which grows for each additional month a vessel is in operation) and the need for (comparatively) more onshore and offshore resources to manage two ships through to March 2020, even when one vessel is in dry dock. Various urgent/essential Lord Nelson engineering costs, including a replacement port engine, which would also need to be made prior to March 2020.
For this reason, the scenario of keeping a second ship in operation until March 2020 was discarded.
There was very little to choose between options 2 & 3 (less than £5,000). However, it was decided to go for option 3 as it was less disruptive to the voyage programme and also gave JST more time to fundraise towards the costs of the Tenacious dry docking.
The JST has always intended to operate two ships and no decision in this regard was made before the appeal. Indeed, considerable efforts have been made over recent years to make a 2 ship model work. The decision to move down to a single ship came after the appeal, following extensive discussion about options for reducing the financial risks in our model and against latest forecasts for the current and next financial year.
We set about developing and increasing our income by introducing a (high yielding, high impact) partnership income stream to complement our public voyages and by also strengthening our Fundraising Team so we could set about pursuing higher value funding applications and major gifts. The combined impact of this work has increased our core income by over £1m per year – taking us much closer to these target earning levels, but we are not quite there yet, meaning our funding environment has continued to be extremely tight without any operating reserves. The recent financial challenges arose despite this progress and reflect the vulnerability of the JST’s position despite very proactive steps to improve its financial standing.
The JST Management has always had high levels of financial oversight and scrutiny. A sub-group of Trustees with significant business experience meet monthly to discuss the JST finances. They are supported by three independent advisors, who are all respected and very experienced accounting professionals. The management team reports back to this group weekly.
Over recent years the JST has made various changes to its mode of operation to improve occupancy, including: the introduction of partner voyages, more varied international programmes, the use of channel partners to promote voyages and enhanced approaches to marketing/awareness building.
The JST has also established working relationships with other sail training operators, industry bodies and associations. We are currently collaborating with them to develop coordinated market approaches to programming and partnerships, which will help us identify the best sailing opportunities and will increase the demand for our voyages by giving us access to wider audiences.
As part of the current strategic review, the JST will be considering further steps to ensure our mission is effectively delivered. It is expected that a single ship fleet will deliver very high levels of onboard occupancy and, as a consequence, the consistently high quality experience this will bring beneficiaries.
The JST has two types of activity: partnership voyages and those open to the public. At present, the partner voyages generally cover their costs whereas the public voyages are subsidised by JST’s fundraising and run at a significant loss, even with the contributions from the voyage crew which typically represent 40-60% of the true voyage cost (c. £180-200 per person, per day, dependent on the voyage).
This latter model is not sustainable, even at 100% occupancy, so there are long-standing structural issues with this cost model that will need to be addressed in our future plans. We also need to ensure our charitable funds are put to good use and it is increasingly difficult to defend subsidising the cost for people outside our core beneficiary groups (people with disabilities, those facing financial disadvantage, young people etc.).
We would argue that £200 per person, per day/£1,400 per week is a very reasonable investment in a voyage given the transformative, life enhancing experience that the JST offers. Our future plans will need to address these issues and create clearer alignment between our charitable objectives and voyage crew contributions.
No, solvency issues may have arisen much sooner without the overseas deployment of Tenacious. Taking Tenacious away from the UK/European market provided a much improved uplift in capacity utilisation across both the JST’s vessels as Lord Nelson was able to take more advantage of the UK demand while Tenacious was able to tap into a whole new demand through overseas bookings. It also opened up new sources of funding and significantly grew the fundraising contribution to the trust.
JST had a commercial mortgage following the construction of Tenacious in 2000. This was a commercial arrangement with RBS, underwritten by the government. When this arrangement expired in 2016, the JST underwent a benefactor-led refinancing effort to pay down this mortgage and to create much needed working capital. Four very established donors (three individuals and one institution) provided the funding for this refinancing – all on very favourable, low-interest bearing long-term arrangements. This benefactor syndicate solution was much friendlier, and financially viable, than any commercial solution available.
The Australian supporter (Harry Cator) was one of the donors in this syndicate. Harry is a long-term (more than 35 years) supporter of the JST and the son of JST President, and co-founder, Jacquetta Cator. He is also Chairman of JST Australia, the JST’s charitable partner in this country. Beyond his support with refinancing, Harry has been a significant major donor and has contributed significantly as a volunteer.
Harry, and all the other supporters who helped with this re-financing effort, have been very supportive of the trust throughout our recent financial challenges, providing loan and interest payment holidays. They are working with us to help ensure a bright future for our work and being as helpful as they possibly can.
It is essential that the JST presents itself in a way that aligns with our charitable mission and beneficiaries. In 2018, we made a number of enhancements to our mission, target beneficiaries and impact frameworks. We also undertook a rebranding exercise to better present our work to these target audiences.
We were fortunate to partner with Valiant Design on this project, who provided over 90% of the brand design and website work pro bono (without charge). The cash impact to the JST was consequently very low and has not been a factor in this recent financial situation.
As part of continued good governance, we will be reviewing our Trustee Board and management team to ensure it is fit for purpose. In accordance with good practice, succession planning is also on-going for all senior positions.
Per the Trustees Statement of July 22nd, we recently launched an internal staff consultation (per ACAS guidelines) to discuss the potential organisational impact of moving down to a single ship fleet. This consultation was concluded on August 16th and has resulted in 5 offshore voluntary redundancies and 10 onshore involuntary redundancies. The hiring process for a number of new roles, essential to the JST’s new structure, have also been launched.
Over the past 5 years, we have grown the number of partnerships we have with a wide range of organisations (businesses, charities, foundations, educational establishments and governments) to deliver our mission. By working collaboratively with partners, JST is able to:
● Raise greater awareness of our work and spread our charitable mission to new audiences;
● Access hard-to-reach communities and individuals that might benefit from our mission and thus increase our charitable reach and satisfy our charitable purposes more extensively;
● Provide greater impact to our beneficiaries; and
● Create sustainable sources of funding for our beneficiary groups.
All JST voyages require mixed ability crews and our partnership work is normally the most impactful (certainly this is the feedback from our permanent crew).
When we work with businesses, we typically have members of staff sailing alongside beneficiaries of partner charities that support people with disabilities and/or other forms of social disadvantage.
The staff, through their fundraising efforts and the matched funding from businesses, are able to fully fund the beneficiary berths on-board, removing financial barriers for these beneficiaries to access our voyages. In the past 3 years alone, these partnerships have generated 927 fully funded bursaries for individuals within our core beneficiary groups (for a definition of these core beneficiary groups please see our answer to the question “Who is a beneficiary and am I still allowed to sail?”.
We would therefore argue that partnerships are both important to our mission and also essential to providing opportunities for all our beneficiaries (which include a wide range of disabled people, along with those from disadvantaged backgrounds and those facing other challenges in their life) especially those who would most benefit from a voyage, but may be socially isolated and otherwise unaware of the opportunity to sail, and those who need financial support to participate.
See above. Partnerships have helped to improve the JST’s impact and financial standing. They will continue to play a strong role in our future as the Trust sincerely believes they will help secure JST’s future.
Since the launch of the new JST website we have received many positive responses by users, especially regarding the improvements to accessibility. However we are also aware that there are elements in the new design that our regular users are missing from our old site. During a second phase of the website creation some previous features may be reinstated and other new elements may also be added. Constructive feedback from our website users is always welcome as it guides us on any possible future improvements. Please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Yes, we will be. Please see more information about this in the Hub Port Strategy document.
As a smaller charity, with a limited marketing/PR budget, we will always face challenges in raising awareness of our work. Some good progress has been made in recent years and our partnerships strategy is central to this, for example impact stats from Barclays RBV, Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge, Sea Change winning Silver in National Charity Film Awards.
We recognise the need to take this further and are in the process of recruiting a Story Teller and Content Manager to ensure we take a strong and contemporary approach to this task. It is a critical hire, so please share the details with anyone who might be interested.
Yes, this is always a consideration in our planning. The aforementioned Hub Strategy should increase these opportunities in communities across the UK.
Per the Trustees Statement on July 22nd, those crew members booked onto STS Lord Nelson’s voyages from March 2020 (towards the end of her winter programme) will be given the option of a full refund, or being booked onto another SV Tenacious voyage. Those with existing bookings will be contacted by our Customer Service Team to discuss their options and a new, revised, programme for both vessels can be found here
In the last few years, considerable focus has gone into growing the JST’s base of major donors (people contributing £10,000+ per year) and this has helped to improve the Trust’s core income and deal with major issues like our re-financing needs (See answer to “Is the JST beholden to a ‘mystery Australian business man’ as the major creditor?”).
The recent appeal has highlighted the widespread support for our work and that we need to do a better job maintaining relationships with our grassroots supporters and volunteers within the community. Opportunities to do this will be central to our future plans, as will the growth of other opportunities, like corporate sponsorship and benefit-in-kind support from our suppliers.
Yes, we do have independent auditors audit our financial records annually as is legally required for a charity of our size. They are a well established chartered accountancy firm that is a member of the UK200 Group of independent chartered accountants and lawyers. During our most recent audited Annual Report and Accounts, for the year ending March 2018, the auditors did comment on “material uncertainty” regarding the trust’s continued operation within the “Conclusions relating to going concern” section of their report. They can be found on page 36 of the document.
The JST has also been the beneficiary of a generous grant from a big-4 accounting firm, who have also been independently providing us with ongoing restructuring advice from time-to-time.
The JST Management has always had high levels of financial oversight and scrutiny. A sub-group of Trustees with significant business experience meet monthly to discuss the JST finances. They are supported by three independent advisers, who are all respected and very experienced accounting professionals. The management team reports back to this group weekly.
From our very first voyage, there has always been an international dimension to the JST’s programmes. However, this needs to be balanced with other objectives, like accessibility and costs of travel.
Going forwards, we will be reviewing our voyage programme to maximise our charitable impact and ensure financial objectives are met. The Hub Strategy will likely provide a backbone to future UK programming as will our international network of partners.
However, due to poor weather from October to April, it is likely that our operational vessel will need to leave UK waters to seek the winter sun. We also remain open minded about future longer-haul international programmes, but they will need a clear funding source and must demonstrate that they are delivering on our charitable goal/mission.
Two Trustee sub-committees were established; one was a “Planning Team” and the second a “Review Team”. The “Planning Team” was made up of three Trustees with very significant commercial and professional experience: Martyn Cuff (Vice Chairman), Ashley Head and Mark Rawson.
The Review Team was constituted of Kevin Curran (Trustee, Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee), Mark Needham (Trustee and a lawyer), Tom Stewart (Trustee, former Chairman, and architect of the Watch Leader Training Programme) and Stuart Lisle (a Chartered Accountant and independent member of the Finance and Audit Committee). PwC, who are providing ongoing restructuring advice, and Hill Dickinson, the JST’s lawyers, have also been on-hand to provide professional advice where needed.
The Trustees have been delighted to get a significant volume of thoughtful feedback from staff, volunteers and beneficiaries of the JST’s work. This has been gathered together, sorted and will be considered as plans are developed.
Our standard terms include penalties to partners that cancel within a specified time frame. The cancellation penalties increase the closer you get to the voyage date.
We welcome people from all walks of life. You can sail with us from age 16 upwards on a voyage. Children from as young as 12 can join us for a day sail, if accompanied by a parent or appropriate adult, making it a great day out for families, schools and groups. There is no upper age limit on either voyages or day sails. Many people who sail with us are complete sailing novices, whilst some are passionate tall ship sailors.
We aim to make a difference to the lives of all our participants, but we know that our impact is especially strong for:
– disabled people, including those with physical impairments and learning disabilities or difficulties
– those dealing with long term health issues or mental health conditions
– the lonely or socially isolated
– those dealing with significant challenges or change in their career or educational life
– people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including disadvantaged youth
We fully understand and appreciate that a big part of the JST’s mission is delivered through bringing together people of all walks of life to break down social barriers so concentrating only on the specified groups above would not be delivering on our mission. We do believe that our mission can have a deep impact on the groups above however so we want to do a better job of identifying and involving members of these groups, but not at the expense of others.
We appreciate the Trustees statement has raised questions about future voyage funding. There are still many details to work through and the Trustees will be consulting more widely before anything is finalised. First and foremost, we are not trying to change the JST mission or the outcomes achieved whilst on board. As has always been the case in our history, we also want to ensure anyone who wishes to sail with JST has this opportunity regardless of their financial circumstance.
However, we do need to make sure the JST’s model is defensible in today’s increasingly challenging market and it is increasingly hard to defend the provision of financial assistance to those who would not normally be viewed as appropriate beneficiaries of charitable funding. The sentiment in the Trustees Statement reflects the need for a much clearer articulation of who the JST primary beneficiaries are and the need to revisit the subsidy model in light of this. We also need to revisit the current trend of having voyages run at a significant loss (even when 100% occupied) and thus what level of subsidy/bursary support can be offered to all our crew, based on the expected funds available.
These are complex issues that will take time to properly work through and there are lots of details to consider. For example, many other service-orientated charities offer benefits available to communities who actively support their mission (for example, in our case, by volunteering, fundraising, becoming a Friend etc) and are able to justify these benefits because of their wider contribution to charity life. It is likely the JST would explore something similar.
We are very grateful to all the JST team for their patience, professionalism and resilience during what has been a very challenging time for the JST. We have needed to take some very tough decisions to help get the organisation onto the strongest possible footing and after a period of consultation, it was decided to restructure the organisation which included making some positions redundant.
For our Offshore Team, we needed to reduce headcount, rather than remove roles. As a result, we have completed a Voluntary Redundancy Programme for the Permanent Crew and five members of the team applied. The JST permanent crew are employed by the organisation, not a specific ship, so everyone was treated equally during the voluntary process, irrespective of the vessel upon which individuals normally sail. The applications for voluntary redundancy were successful and there were enough of them to avoid a Compulsory Redundancy process. Those leaving the organisation will do so by the end of October, once the Lord Nelson decommissioning is completed.
For the Onshore staff, a Voluntary Redundancy Programme was not an option as we needed to restructure rather than just reduce headcount so we initiated a Compulsory Redundancy Programme and, after a period of Consultation, ten team members will be leaving the JST. Based on operational requirements, these individuals will be leaving across the months of August, September and October.
This has not been an easy time for our team across the organisation and we are saying farewell to friends and valued colleagues. We know those departing will appreciate your thoughts and well wishes.
By constitution, the JST is a Trust and not a members-based organisation. Therefore, the only individuals with voting rights on strategic decisions are members of the Board of Trustees.
However, as has always been the case, Trustees will continue to solicit feedback from a wide range of stakeholders to ensure their decision-making process is informed and in the best interest of the organisation, along with the beneficiaries we seek to serve.
Following the decommissioning of Lord Nelson, a decision around next steps has not yet been taken by the Trustees. We cannot afford two operational ships, therefore we need to see what options there are for Lord Nelson. Bristol has very kindly agreed for us to berth the ship there for the time being, cost free.
No. No members of staff or Trustees received any form of commission from the recent emergency appeal or any other appeal for that matter. Every penny raised went to and continues to go to the JST.