UKSA, a non-profit maritime charity, has announced that plans for a new 136-bed accommodation centre have been approved. Work will commence on site from the beginning of February.
UKSA expects that the new, modular accommodation centre on its waterfront site in Cowes, Isle of Wight, will enable an additional 3,000 children and young people to visit UKSA each year. This, says the charity, will allow 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.
“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,” says Ben Willows, UKSA’s CEO. “Our aim was to raise £4m in order to transform our facilities. We have now raised £3.7m.
“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.
The project has been made possible by a number of generous donations including US $1.9m from the TK Foundation, £450,000 from the Whirlwind Charitable Trust, and £300k from The Bradbury Foundation. These leading donations have also been supported by significant commitments from several other key trusts and individuals.
“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,” says Dennis Treleaven, maritime program officer from The TK Foundation.