£501K investment for Portsmouth charity

4 December 2012


£501,000 Heritage Lottery Fund investment for Portsmouth charity to support young people

The Portsmouth-based charity, The Boleh Trust, has received half a million pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting restoration project, it was announced today.

The grant will enable the Trust to employ apprentices to restore a historic junk yacht Boleh. Local young people will be able to learn heritage skills and make Boleh fit to sail again, while gaining credits at Portsmouth’s Highbury College towards their professional shipwright qualifications.

The funding also provides for significant community involvement in this exciting heritage project. Boleh’s story and restoration will be harnessed to inspire pupils from the Portsmouth-based Charter Academy and introduce them to experiences and adventures that they would not normally encounter in their lives.

The restoration will be supported by the design expertise of third-year ship science students from the University of Southampton.

Once restored, Boleh – whose name means “Can Do” in Malay - will be used to help those facing challenges in their lives by giving them the chance to experience sailing this unique vessel and so build confidence, leadership and team working skills.

Boleh, a remarkable 40ft wooden junk yacht, was built after WWII in Singapore by a Naval Officer, Commander Robin Kilroy, DSC, who then sailed her back to Salcombe, Devon in 1950. She is constructed from traditional materials to a mixed junk/Bermudan rig design with many novel features – such as portholes made from the windscreens of Japanese fighter aircraft.

George Middleton, Chairman of the Boleh Trust, said, “We are extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund whose support will allow the Boleh Trust to make a huge difference to the lives of young people in the Portsmouth area – both now, as we get our apprenticeship training up and running, and in the future when Boleh again becomes a sail training vessel. What’s really wonderful about this funding is that it will help us to share Boleh’s remarkable story and heritage with the local community.”

Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said, “This rare vessel brings together European and Far East traditions and represents an important moment in sailing ship design. We at the Heritage Lottery Fund are delighted that Boleh will be fully restored, back to her former glory, allowing the Boleh story to be shared with local people and visitors alike. A particular highlight of this project for HLF is the young apprentices from Portsmouth who will be trained in shipbuilding during the process. Skilling up young people is so important and will ensure Boleh’s legacy lives on beyond just the restoration.”

Dame Sharon Hollows, Principal of the Charter Academy, said, “I’m delighted that Heritage Lottery Funding has been awarded to the Boleh Trust. The Trust, with its emphasis on helping young people through skills training and in offering sailing opportunities, together with its inspirational “Can Do” – anything is possible – approach to life, is just the sort of unique and inspirational activity that can enhance learning and life skills at Charter.”

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You can read more about the Boleh Project on our Shipshape Network/Solent Project page

About the Boleh Trust

The Boleh Trust is a Portsmouth-based registered charity (No. 1135117) formed with the twin aims of preserving the unique historic junk yacht ‘Boleh’ (National Historic Vessel No. 2281) and giving young people the opportunities to develop practical and life skills. More details of the Boleh Trust can be found at


Twitter: @BolehProject

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, the Fund invests in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 33,000 projects, allocating £4.9billion across the UK.

About the Charter Academy

It is our determination at Charter to give our pupils the very best opportunities in life not only through a rigorous academic programme but also by introducing them to experiences and adventures that they would not normally encounter in their lives. We seek to expand horizons so equipping our pupils, whose family circumstances may limit ambition and choice, to look outside their immediate environment for fulfilling career choices.

Charter Academy is a secondary school, established as an Academy in 2009, located in an area of acute social deprivation in Portsmouth. It takes pupils from the age of 11 to 16 and is scheduled to open a 6th Form when the current rebuilding programme is complete in 2014, when the roll is planned to increase to 800. The catchment area encompasses an area of dense and high rise housing, much of which is occupied by those on benefits, and as a result 50% of pupils are entitled to free school meals.

About Highbury College

Highbury is a general further education college with over 45 years teaching and learning experience. The College takes pride in its commitment to equality and diversity, supporting students of all abilities from all backgrounds.

Highbury College’s Mission: To enable all our students to succeed

Grade 1 outstanding: In 2011 the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) judged Highbury to be a Grade 1 outstanding College.

No.1 for student success:  Student success rates 10/11 make Highbury the top general further education college in the South East Region (10/11 National LR Success Rates, published by the Data Service). It outperformed all colleges, both general further education and sixth form in Hampshire and the IoW.

Outstanding courses, resources and support: Highbury College provides a vast range of vocational and academic programmes in and around Portsmouth, from entry level training courses to university level qualifications, specialised services for business and learning in the community.

Students at Highbury College benefit from first-class facilities and the support they need to succeed. A multi-million pound redevelopment incorporates the latest sustainable technology and improved accessibility, underpinning its vision to be a world-class college.

About the University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social sciences, health and humanities.

With over 23,000 students, around 5000 staff, and an annual turnover well in excess of £435 million, the University of Southampton is acknowledged as one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine. We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.

The University is also home to a number of world-leading research centres including the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Institute for Life Sciences, the Web Science Trust and Doctoral training Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute and is a partner of the National Oceanography Centre at the Southampton waterfront campus.

Further information

Boleh Trust: George Middleton, on: 07545 769421

Katy Hutchinson, on 07436 810374, email:

Patrick Middleton, on 07765 254 953, email: 

HLF press office: Laura Bates, on; 0207 5916027, email:


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