Our COVID bounceback fund supports forces sailing charity Turn to Starboard

09 September 2021

In the Autumn of 2020 Ultra donated £20,000 from our COVID-19 fund to support a plethora of UK military services charities via an organisation called Team Ethos. Their partners carry out much needed restorative therapy and activities centred around mental and physical wellbeing amongst wounded former personnel.

A Forces Sailing charity called Turn to Starboard was one of the beneficiaries via our bounce back funding. This charity uses sail training to provide an environment to reinforce the sense of value and belonging and provides a focus on resettlement and reintegration. By providing internationally recognised qualifications, they support veterans with excellent career building opportunities.

As a result of our (and other) donations, Turn to Starboard is now able to run a high-profile sailing expedition from Lands’ End to John O'Groats called THE LONG WAY UP. The event is a life-changing sailing adventure along the west coast of mainland Britain. The aim is for 50 veterans affected by military operations to experience freedom on the water, meet people facing similar challenges as their own, enjoy great camaraderie and gain valuable skills that apply to everyday life. Each yacht will be led by a fully qualified and highly experienced skipper to safely guide the crew. Participants will return as competent and weathered sailors with valuable mileage and experience towards an RYA Yachtmaster qualification.

The fleet sets sail from Land’s End on September 7, 2021 and is expected to arrive at John O’ Groats (2,000 mile trip) around three weeks later, depending on weather conditions.

To mark the launch of THE LONG WAY UP, and as one of Turn to Starboard’s main sponsors, Ultra was invited to take part in a sailing day on 1 September at Falmouth, Cornwall.

​​​​​​​The opportunity included meeting with Turn to Starboard personnel, gaining an in-depth of awareness of the work they undertake, their experiences and drivers for establishing the charity. The briefing, led by Turn to Starboard CEO and founder, Shaun Pascoe, was an inspiring start to proceedings:

“Listening to the life changing stories of those who’ve benefitted from being referred to the charity gave us a unique opportunity to understand the contributions we make as part of our social responsibility.”  Sue Racster

Attended by four other defence company sponsors, crewing 5 ships, including the Spirit of Falmouth (Tall Ship), an unforgettable experience was had by all. Seven representatives from across Ultra UK took part in the event.

Some, more adventurous than others, took the opportunity to bunk down on the boats overnight before their day at sea. Together with their qualified Turn to Starboard skippers, Team Ultra crewed 2 boats on the day: the September and Coralee.

Many of the team had no sailing experience but stepped up when offered the opportunity to take the helm, help with tacking maneuvers and, most importantly, putting a brew on! Others took the opportunity to pay close inspection to the sea whilst leaning overboard and having a tactical vomit!

“I had a really great day sailing with Turn to Starboard. Everybody was so welcoming and friendly and made us feel totally at ease about doing something new. It quickly became clear from the stories they were telling about veterans that have sailed with them how much the charity can help with people’s wellbeing.

The Turn to Starboard team showed a clear commitment to their cause and how much joy they get to see transformational changes in people. This was a fantastic opportunity to experience first-hand what the charity is about, and I walked away feeling inspired to learn new skills and ways I could improve my own welfare.” Lucy Rose

Gaining first-hand experience with Turn to Starboard gave Ultra representatives a tangible understanding of the impact of our donation. A truly life changing, worthy cause which combine seamlessly with our ONE Ultra values.  Ultra-participants took advantage of the CSR Giving Back Days initiative to volunteer and support this charity event. Everyone can use two working days (16 hours) annually to team build, volunteer, and fundraise in their community - we highly recommend doing it!

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