As mv Balmoral approaches her 70th Birthday in 2019 a critical challenge is facing the charity which owns the Bristol-registered classic coastal excursion vessel. With the best summer operating weather for many years now behind her, she remains tied up in Bristol until funds are raised to undertake major upgrade work on the hull, deck and crew accommodation, as well as other work now required to meet tightening standards being applied across the shipping industry. This is likely to cost around £3 million when capital expenditure for future operation is taken into account – well beyond the funds available to the charity.
That is only part of the challenge – if the Heritage Lottery Fund were to offer further funding – and there is no guarantee they would – they would require the Charity to substantially develop its embryonic educational and community work before they would make any grant of funds for work on the ship. The trustees are keen to see the charity embrace this approach, so these vital components need to be put in place:
- An agreement with Bristol Harbour for year-round publicly accessible berthing so that these activities can be developed on and around mv Balmoral until she can return to sea-going service – and continue outside the sailing season when she returns to Bristol.
- People with the appropriate experience and enthusiasm to share their expertise and develop other Community and Educational links.
- A fundraising team with the expertise to raise at least £3 million through grant applications, sponsorship and major fundraising events.
- Volunteers with ship or engineering project management experience to lead this work.
The charity and the ship are therefore at a crossroads. There are many things to be done before serious fundraising can even begin. If these cannot be done, the chances of her ever going to sea again are in serious doubt.
For more information, please visit the official web site at www.mvbalmoral.org.uk