UKSA’s ambitious accommodation project given the green light

Published 04/02/2021

UKSA, the non-profit maritime charity, is thrilled to announce that plans for its new 136 -bed accommodation centre have now been approved with work commencing on site from the beginning of February.

This exciting project has been made possible by a number of generous donations including US $1.9 million from the TK Foundation, the single largest donation in UKSA’s 30-year history and an additional £450,000 pledge from the Whirlwind Charitable Trust, a long-term supporter of UKSA and a new £300k donation from The Bradbury Foundation. These leading donations have also been supported by significant commitments from several other key Trusts and individuals that have committed major donations towards this transformational project.

Dennis Treleaven, Maritime Program Officer from The TK Foundation, comments: “We have long supported the work UKSA undertakes and recognise the important value their programmes add to the lives of the thousands of people passing through its doors each year. The TK Foundation actively supports youth and maritime programmes that offer a hand-up, not a hand-out, and that create a lasting impact, especially in terms of maritime employment opportunities, and we consider UKSA’s work to be an embodiment of these values.”

The new, modular accommodation centre on its waterfront site in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight will enable an additional 3,000 children and young people to visit UKSA each year, allowing the organisation to continue growing its impact on life skills and career prospects. Central to its design, the new facility will have configurable zones providing more flexible arrangements for all, alongside improved safeguarding and better disabled access.

Kevin George, Chair of UKSA Trustees said: “This is one the most significant moments for the organisation since Noel and Sylvia Lister founded UKSA in 1987. The new accommodation is critical for us to provide the services and training to our young people and students, as the demand for places continues to grow year-on-year.”

Ben Willows, CEO of UKSA, comments: “We have been working on plans for this new facility since 2017, when we launched UKSA’s Building Better Futures campaign with our Patron, HRH Princess Royal. Our aim was to raise £4m in order to transform our facilities. We have now raised £3.7m and I’m thrilled to say that building work is now set to commence – I am so grateful for all the support that our donors have provided, it has been humbling to have received such generous support.

The first phase of work will see the demolition of the Ark Royal, a 1929 brick building with 66 beds. Despite many refurbishments over the years, the building is no longer fit for purpose. The new accommodation centre will replace Ark Royal and will increase our efficiency through enabling us to optimise occupancy and improve the quality of our service offering to students.”

The UKSA site will remain fully operational throughout the development works, with completion of the works planned for mid-2022.