A group of young people from across the UK, many of them from disadvantaged backgrounds, developed traditional sailing skills and boosted their confidence while learning about maritime heritage. The young ‘Jack Tars’ – a term that used to refer to sailors in the Navy – went on a residential trip along the Firth of Clyde on board the Spirit of Fairbridge sailing ship, where they carried out the duties of a ship’s boy.
The young people were also trained to help with the conservation of the historic vessel, and gained formal accreditation in sailing and engine maintenance, as well as credits towards an award from qualifications body ASDAN. One of the young participants, Lizzi, is now a volunteer on the Spirit. She is working towards a formal crew qualification and hopes to get a job on the ship.
“Fairbridge helped me find my mouth – I was so shy and beaten down before, I wouldn’t even look at people unless I’d known them for years. It’s good to feel like a different person with more confidence.” Lizzi, project participant