Blyth Tall Ship project given cash boost from Wellesley Trust Fund

Wellesley Trust Fund was set up following the sale of its land and has now handed out grants to 15 projects in the North East

Gilbert Johnston David Watson, Secretary is on the left and trustees of the Wellesley Trust Fund, with Jonny Bell, Trainer, volunteers and a young apprentice from Blyth Tall Ship
David Watson, Secretary is on the left and trustees of the Wellesley Trust Fund, with Jonny Bell, Trainer, volunteers and a young apprentice from Blyth Tall Ship

A £2m fund set up by a historic North East charity handed out its first grants.

The Wellesley Trust, which once ran a nautical school for the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy, donated money from the sale of its land in Blyth to the Community Foundation Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, establishing the Wellesley Trust Fund.

Now the fund has been able to award £72,746 to 15 projects in the region to help young people with a particular interest in maritime links.

One group that benefitted from a grant of £8,754 was Blyth Tall Ship in Northumberland, who were able to purchase large machine tools for marine engineering apprenticeships and training courses.

Blyth Tall Ship deliver day school experiences in traditional boat building for 10 to14-year-olds, and foundation learning in engineering skills for 14 to 28-year-olds. Heritage boat building is used as a catalyst and inspiration for change, helping young people to consider engineering as a future career.

Jonny Bell, a boat builder and trainer at Blyth Tall Ship, said: “I would like to thank the Wellesley Trust and the Community Foundation, who have allowed us to purchase large machine tools for our marine engineering trainees and apprenticeships.

“We use high ratios of trainers to learners to ensure the very best opportunity to learn and progress our learners into future employment.”

The Wellesley Trust Fund aims to help young people into employment, and training and ensure young people become valued members of the community.


David Watson, secretary of the Wellesley Trust added: “The Wellesley Trust is delighted to have made its first round of funding to local projects in our region.

“By working closely with the Community Foundation we identified young people as our main priority, and we’re delighted to give something back to the local communities of which Wellesley originally operated.”

Other beneficiaries during this round include Mental Health North East, based in Birtley, who received a grant of £7,000 to provide an information service for young people at risk of depression and suicide.

St Anthony Youth Education Service in Walker, Newcastle, received a grant of £4,000 to provide a new programme of photography, dance and home furnishing activities following a consultation with local young people.

Other groups receiving grants included Gateshead Sea Cadets, Farringdon Jubilee Centre, Whitley Bay Sea Cadet Corps, Gosforth Sea Cadets, 8th Blyth Sea Scout Group and Young Asian Voices.

The Wellesley Trust Fund was established as an endowment at the Community Foundation after the Trust sold its land in Blyth for housing development and the proceeds, realised over the next three years, will be used by the Community Foundation to support youth projects.

The first gift of £1.3m into the Wellesley Trust Fund at the Foundation also attracted match from a Government scheme, taking the total founding value to nearly £2m, which includes a sum for a first round of grants.

In time, the fund will total more than £5m, with grant-making each year expected to exceed £250,000.

For more information about how you can make an application to the Community Foundation please visit


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