Sailing charity, Turn to Starboard, which operates out of Falmouth, has received a donation of £26,980. This financial award from The Freemasons of Cornwall will provide homeless veterans with temporary accommodation on board a traditional wooden motorboat owned by the charity.
The charity was created from the personal experiences of its founder, Squadron Leader (retired) Shaun Pascoe. Shaun served on numerous tours during his 16 years in the RAF, including Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was Commanding Officer of a Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) flying in Chinooks to retrieve those significantly injured, often under heavy enemy fire.
After returning home, Shaun found it difficult to adjust to normal life. A keen sailor, he had noticed the calming effects of the sea and began providing sailing opportunities for others. In 2012 he set up the charity to help those in similar situations.
A 48-foot Rampart motor cruiser was gifted to Turn to Starboard in 2018 yet required extensive repairs to its wooden hull. A major restoration project was launched which saw a team of volunteer veterans bring the vessel back to life while learning traditional boat-building skills.
Earlier this year, the 25-tonne cruiser was relaunched back on the water and the idea was floated to use the boat as accommodation for veterans in need.
Turn to Starboard CEO Shaun Pascoe said: “This vessel is a great way to provide short-term accommodation for Armed Forces veterans who are going through difficult times. Not only does it provide a base until more permanent housing can be found, but it also enables individuals to engage with our sail training activities and build valuable skills towards new career opportunities. Thanks to this generous grant awarded by Cornish Freemasons, we are able to reach out to vulnerable veterans and help them move on from homelessness to a future they can believe in.”
Sebastian Oakley, Provincial Grand Communications Officer for Cornwall said:
“The Freemasons of Cornwall are delighted to support Cornish charity Turn to Starboard with this charitable donation, which will allow them to continue and develop their vital work for our homeless veterans based in Cornwall and in turn help them re-develop crucial skills to continue in their civilian lives and future careers.”
A maximum of three veterans can live aboard the boat at any one time. Individuals engage with the charity’s sailing activities and make contact with local authorities with a view to finding permanent accommodation in the local community.
The charity’s support does not just stop at the individual. They also offer skippered sailing trips to Service families affected by military operations, with trips along the picturesque Cornish coast and to the Isles of Scilly.
Turn to Starboard also use sail training to support Armed Forces personnel affected by military operations. Since its launch in 2012, the organisation has provided thousands of sailing opportunities to serving and retired personnel and their families. To find out more about Turn to Starboard or to make a donation, visit turntostarboard.co.uk. To find out more about Freemasonry in Cornwall, visit: ww.cornwallfreemasons.com