The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service


OYT South bulletin 23rd September 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Royal presentation for OYT South
Regular readers will know that in June, OYT South was honoured to be included in the 2011 list of organisations given The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service - the first member of the Association of Sail Training Organisations to receive this award, which is equivalent in status to the MBE.

This week saw the formal presentation of the Award, by HRH The Princess Royal. Our sponsors, Marina Developments Limited, very generously hosted a reception for us at the Southampton Boat Show on Tuesday, where Her Royal Highness met an invited audience of OYT South volunteers and other supporters before making the presentation of a certificate and trophy. These were accepted on behalf of OYT South by Ben Martin, volunteer first mate and Youth Trustee.

The certificate gives the formal citation:

“Elizabeth the Second, By the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Our other Realms and Territories Queen, Defender of the Faith, to Ocean Youth Trust South, Greetings. We being cognisant of the said group’s outstanding voluntary work in the community, and being desirous of showing Our Royal Favour do hereby confer upon it The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community 2011, for such period as the group continues to provide its current service and do hereby give permission for the authorised emblem of the said Award to be displayed on the group’s letterhead and other public material. Given at Our Court of St James’s under Our Royal Sign Manual this second day of June 2011 in the sixtieth year of Our Reign.”

This is a tremendous tribute to everyone who has supported OYT South over the years - all our volunteers and helpers should feel very proud!

Huge thanks to all who helped to make Tuesday such a memorable day for the charity, including HRH The Princess Royal; Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence; the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan, and her team; our Patron, Lord Iliffe; Jon Eads and all his team at MDL; International Paint, who kindly provided free Boat Show tickets for our guests; and everyone else involved in the event.

The Royal presentation was preceded by the annual MDL Sail Training Awards, in which five young people who had been sponsored by MDL on a voyage in John Laing in August were given their trophies - it was great to have these young people and their families there to share in the day!

You can read more about HRH The Princess Royal’s visit to the Boat Show here.

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OYT South AGM 2011
The 2011 OYT South AGM will be held on Saturday 15th October at 1530 at The Royal Southern Yacht Club, Rope Walk, Hamble, Southampton SO31 4HB. It is open to all members and shouldn't take very long, following on after our celebration lunch (see below). AGM paperwork has gone out separately to members and recently lapsed members (who should renew a.s.a.p.) and is also available here. If you want to be a member and vote at our AGM, or stand for election to the Board of Trustees, see here for membership information. Any member wishing to stand for election should print the form “Proposal of Candidature for Election as a Trustee” from the AGM documents on the website and return it to the office by 4pm on 30th September 2011. Email me if you want more information on what being a trustee involves.

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2011 celebration lunch and AGM - book NOW
On Saturday 15th October we shall be holding a lunchtime event in the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble, for members, supports, families and friends, to mark OYT South having been given The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service this year. The event will be followed by the 2011 AGM.

Full details here including the lunch menu and how to book and pay.

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Shorebased training weekend February 2012
We will be holding our normal shorebased training weekend in Gosport (except for Sea Survival, which is based nearer Southampton) on the weekend 18-19 February 2012. We hope to offer First Aid and Sea Survival on Saturday, with Radar on Sunday, as well other courses which may include GMDSS radio, Food Hygiene, Diesel engines, lifejacket packing, and maybe some form of youthwork or child protection course. Just let us know what might interest you (including any other ideas for courses - we can always look into them and see what’s possible) and we’ll do our best to set up whichever courses have sufficient demand, setting dates as far as possible to minimise clashes for those who ask to do two qualifications over the weekend. Email me with your requests – and make sure you put the date in your diary. There will be the usual informal supper and social gathering on the Saturday night.

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* Volunteer sea staff bookings 2011 - last few spaces
It looks as though we may still have spaces as follows:

3-7 Oct, Southampton: additional mate or trainee mate.
28-30 Oct, Southampton: 2M needed, and possibly space for one more qualified or trainee mate for an adult voyage.
31 Oct, Southampton: one or two mates needed for a day sail for RYA Instructors
1 Nov, Southampton: two or three mates needed for a day sail for RYA Instructors

It would be ideal (but not absolutely essential) if mates could do both of these last two day sails, rather than us having a completely different team on board for each day.

Anyone sailing on a youth voyage must be CRB-checked. All sea staff should join the night before the dates given, which just show when crew are on board, except for 28-30 Oct which is a weekend, where staff need to join on Friday afternoon.

Email me if you can help with any of these vacancies.

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* Voyage news

Last weekend we had a day sail for supporters and sponsors, which seemed to have the potential to put everyone off as the forecast was for strong winds and driving rain! In the event we were incredibly lucky, with enough wind to get John Laing going properly and the rain kindly holding off for us. We were able to give some of our donors a really good idea of what we can offer to young people - while enjoying the home baking which our office volunteer team (Sue and Jenny) had very kindly brought along. Also with us on the day was Jon Reeve from the Daily Echo in Southampton, who wrote a lovely piece for the paper about the day, but also made this video. Many thanks to the sea staff for the day sail: Mark, Ben M, Ben W, Andy, Caz and Kirsten.

This week’s voyage was arranged by the Army Welfare Service for the children of service personnel; the voyage was funded by the Royal British Legion. They started by sailing to Cowes on Sunday, and then tacked all the way to Poole on Monday - a decent sail but quite challenging for some at the start of a voyage! On Tuesday they went back to Yarmouth and discovered that downwind sailing can be easier to cope with, as they had a really good sail. In Yarmouth they played silly games before setting off to sail round the south of the Isle of Wight on the following day. During this passage, one of the young crew was on the helm as John Laing’s speed reached 13 knots, greatly upsetting the first mate John, who had been very proud to get just 10.9 knots the previous day! They anchored for a while to the east of the island in order to plan a night entry to Portsmouth, where the voyage ended yesterday, with all 12 crew members earning an RYA Start Yachting certificate (including a group leader who is an experienced sailor but had somehow missed out on this qualification earlier in his career!) This was a new crew to OYT South but we hope to see them again next year. Many thanks to sea staff Nic, John, Bill, Lucinda and Kirsten.

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2012 sailing programme - now taking bookings!
The 2012 sailing programme is now available - book now!

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Volunteer training
Training voyages in 2012:

23-25 March 2012, Southampton, 2 nights, £180pp
16-21 April 2012,Southampton, 5 nights, £400pp
14-16 Sept 2012, Southampton, 2 nights, £180pp.

These are all opportunities for new potential volunteers to come along and see how we work and start developing some familiarity with the boat and our routines, but they also work as selection voyages: the skipper will decide who to invite back as volunteers. This can be about sailing experience, or youthwork skills; but we can also take on a certain number of people who may need quite a lot of training but who are potential assets to our team in terms of personality, willingness to learn, enthusiasm, commitment and interest in working with young people from all backgrounds.

Email me to book.

We would also encourage new volunteers who can’t get on the boat this season to think about visiting us over the winter - helping with the vessel refit, or attending a shorebased training course in February.

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* Financial appeal
Many thanks this week to the Bernard Sunley Foundation for a generous donation.

We need a regular flow of funds to cover at least three major areas: bursaries for young people who could not otherwise afford to sail; vessel maintenance and equipment; and staff salaries - please help, or pass on our details to anyone you come across who might make a grant, large or small.

See here  for how to make a donation - you can contribute by cheque, phone or PayPal, but please do something if you possibly can. Don't forget that if you complete and return a Gift Aid form we can claim back tax on your donation.

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New Boat appeal
Those who attended our 50th anniversary celebrations last October will have heard the talk by renowned yacht designer Merf Owen about our plans for the long-term replacement of John Laing - a new boat for a new generation. Details can be found on the website here - along with a form for making donations. This is a tremendously exciting project and regular readers will be hearing a good deal more about it in the months and years to come - we are just getting started but this is the place where our members and supporters can keep in touch with progress!

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Keep in touch with other John Laing people
We use a number of social networking websites to allow crew members to keep in touch with the boat and with each other. People can swap stories, post photos and more. For some overseas voyages, we will even set up online groups well in advance, restricted only to people who will actually be sailing on that particular voyage, so that people can compare travel plans and arrange to travel together. See here for how to join.

Please note that OYT South has a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept individual online friend requests with crew members aged under 18. Young crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual adults.

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Survey - tell us what you think
If you have recently completed a voyage, please help us by filling in our web-based survey. It really helps - we use the data to keep improving our voyages, and to help us raise funds!

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 New readers' welcome and introduction
If you have recently registered your interest in OYT South, welcome to our e-newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday. It includes a wide range of news from the boat and from the charity, including details of voyages available for young people; adult voyages; opportunities for adult volunteers both ashore and afloat, and much more. We find that while some people read the bulletin almost every week, many others dip in and out, and read it when it's convenient - which is why some items are repeated. The new items are marked with an asterisk * so that if you did read it last week, you can see which sections you can safely skip.

Please feel free to join in any OYT South activities - nothing here is restricted to long-standing members or people who already know one another. New people are always very welcome!

If you need an introduction to the work of OYT South, you should find a lot of useful information on our website. But essentially, we are a registered charity (no. 1079959) which exists to offer adventure under sail as a personal development opportunity for young people aged 12-25, from the widest possible range of backgrounds. A high proportion of our young crew members are disadvantaged or deserving in some way: many of these sail in groups organised by other charities, youth clubs, special schools and so on, and will fill the bulk of our term-time voyages. But those from more fortunate backgrounds are also welcome to sail, either in groups or by coming as individuals on a mixed voyage. Every year we run a variety of shorter local voyages plus longer adventure trips - including Tall Ships races during the summer holidays. If you are aged 12-25 and hoping to sail as a crew member, take a look here - and this section is also useful for adults who are thinking of organising a voyage for a young person. Adults planning to organise a full group voyage should also see here. Adults who want to sail themselves should see here.

We have a professional staff skipper and bosun, but our watch leaders are normally all volunteers, who combine sailing skills with an interest in working with young people. You can find more information here - how the system works, how to join, and profiles of existing staff and volunteers.  

To volunteer for OYT South ashore, please see here. To help with the vessel's annual refit, or with maintenance days spread throughout the year, see here.

It is a very expensive business maintaining a boat, running an office and employing staff. If you want to help us, please become a member of OYT South. Or see here for information on making a donation.

If you have any questions, please do email - or contact the office.

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“To be honest I never wanted to come, but I'm glad I did because I have learnt and seen so much!" Charlotte