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Jane Harman

30 Apr 2022

1st May 2021 saw the launch of the Mayday Mayday Mayday - Save the May Appeal and looking back, what a year we’ve had!

Within 4 days from the launch of Sailing Barge May, The Bread and Roses Barge CIC, we had raised £4000, a phenomenal amount in such a short time which enabled the Bread & Roses team, Connie Gadd, Helen Swift and Jane Harman to enlist Gareth Maaer as our Heritage Lottery Consultant. Year Two begins with a different challenge of attempting to raise £11000!

Donations of £20 or more enabled supporters to request a piece of bunting and Helen has been hard at it getting 65 hanging in the hold at the moment!

In addition the option of commercial sponsorship enlisted the support of inspiring people and companies.

We set ourselves up as a Community Incorporated Company; Sailing Barge May: The Bread and Roses Barge CIC, opened a bank account and we were official!

Regular Instagram and Facebook pages have enabled our news to be shared with a growing audience and we have been bowled over by the support and interest in the project shown by so many visiting our website

A berth was secured at St Osyth Boatyard on 19th July, exactly 130 years to the date of her launch at Cann’s Yard, Harwich we floated off the berth at Pin Mill! Such an exciting moment with a dream passage along the coast to Brightlingsea: SB May seemed to be keen to start a new era!!

After an overnight stay on the Hard at Brightlingsea, including a survey and tar round the topsides, she motored up to St Osyth and berthed alongside SB Edme. Removal of her rudder to lessen the weight on her stern May was then manoeuvered into her new berth.

Initial boarding was via a ladder, somewhat precarious until an amazing gift of a perfect gangway purpose made and donated by Dura Composites became a game-changer; we could get ourselves and others safely onboard.

In September after being awarded a small grant by Heritage Lottery Fund we held 6 Taster days. These provided a fabulous opportunity to invite the very people we want to work with onboard and importantly to hear their thoughts about a floating bakery with groups and organisation that support vulnerable women being welcomed onboard. Along with these groups we met bakers and grain-growers, and had a day hearing from professional women who work on the water.

Feedback from these sessions has been phenomenal enabling us to show that there is a positive need and interest in the project which will be incorporated in our bid for funding to get SB May rebuilt.

In April we were awarded a grant of £2000 from Colchester Catalyst to help us source some sturdy steps to help people with less mobility board May in safety. Part of the grant has been to host our first workshop in collaboration with Coffin Club Colchester, a test event to see if we can develop a regular Thursday craft and stitching day, involving the local community and followers of May. Further funding is being sought for our Thursdays on May and hopefully will develop into something really special.

We’ve ended the year with an Open Day on SB May last weekend and a serious reflection on what's next:

We’re even more passionate, determined and enthusiastic with this project and the vision to get May back on the water visiting local ports on a 6 weekly basis and encouraging the communities we visit to come aboard.

We start year two with Sailing Barge May, The Bread and Roses Barge CIC with purpose to get her to the next stage of her funding journey with the Heritage Lottery, also discovering a life raft of other funding sources to help us get there. We hope you continue to follow that journey with us, your support.and enthusiasm keeps us going.

We have been on a huge learning curve, faced challenges and overcome them. Year Two, One Barge, One Goal is moving forward another tiny step to success.

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