Message from the Chairman
As Chairman of The Solent Steam Packet, it is my responsibility to keep you informed of developments within our Society, particularly those that might impact on the future of SS Shieldhall. I normally discharge this responsibility through my regular column in Shieldhall Magazine. A more direct approach is appropriate on this occasion, hence this newsletter.
2015 has been a remarkable year for Shieldhall. We have carried more passengers than at any time in our history. Customer satisfaction ranks us number one on TripAdvisor for things to do in Southampton and our Lottery funded refurbishment has improved facilities for all. We have made many new contacts and developed links with youth groups, colleges and now the University of Southampton. This has all happened thanks to the dedication and hard work of our volunteers.
Our one disappointment has been the loss of our regular berth and move to a far corner of the docks. This is something we must deal with and in the longer term we are hopeful that Port and City developers will enable our return to the centre of the action. Certainly, to benefit from the improvements to the saloon and bar/galley areas about to commence as part of our Lottery grant and then to maximise the potential of these facilities, we need to be accessible.
Like all other maritime organisations we are challenged by ever tighter regulation and our costs rise year on year. It was once the case that income generated from summer sailings would fund the winter maintenance programme and allow us to put fuel in the bunker for the new season. That is no longer achievable and as we move toward 2016 your Executive must address the challenge of raising funds to dry dock Shieldhall next spring at a cost approaching £100,000. Currently, available funds are well short of this figure.
This is the point where I must appeal for your help. Without this essential dry dock Shieldhall will not sail next year. As you would expect, we are progressing all avenues of potential funding from trusts, foundations, corporates and philanthropic individuals. However, all of these bodies will rightly expect us to show that the membership is also engaged in meeting our financial goal. I therefore ask you to make a donation to the Shieldhall Dry Dock 2016 Fund. Whatever donation you can afford is sorely needed and will be of direct help to the ship. Please see on the bottom of this newsletter donation methods and please remember to Gift Aid your donation.
Shieldhall is a reflection of our nation’s proud maritime heritage, a key provider of training for the young and a source of enjoyment for the passengers of the future. Help us to keep her alive and steaming by responding to this appeal.
My thanks and best wishes,
Via our website: - www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk: click the link on the tool bar labelled “Support Us”, go to “Donate”, and follow the instructions
Via BACS: - Account Name ‘The Solent Steam Packet Limited’: Sort Code 09 06 66: Account No. 40203696: Please Quote “2016 DD Appeal” plus your name as reference
By cheque: - Payable to ‘The Solent Steam Packet Ltd’: send it to the Treasurer, Mr David Rice at 9 Boyes Crescent, London Colney, St.Albans, AL2 1UB.
NOTE: If you are a tax payer please fill in a ‘Gift Aid Declaration’ form which will allow us to recover tax on your contribution. The form can be downloaded from our website or by contacting the Treasurer.
Posted by Lewis Folland, Fri 6 Nov 2015