Boating charity launches fundraiser to 'stay afloat during Covid storm'
- Credit: courtesy The Pirate Castle
Camden Town's iconic Pirate Castle has launched a Crowdfunder campaign to "stay afloat" during the pandemic.
The community boating charity on the Regent's Canal has lost £100,000 income - more than half its annual costs - due to enforced closure and Covid restrictions.
Managers say they are facing the biggest challenge in their 54-year history and need £40,000 by mid-March to "weather the storm".
Founded in 1966, the activity centre at Gilbey's Wharf promotes learning, life chances and healthy living by teaching paddlesports and canal boating to youth and community groups, including disabled boaters and those with additional needs.
They also offer training and volunteering opportunities, and private hire and corporate bookings to help cover their costs.
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"This fundraiser is crucial to keeping our fully accessible community spaces and boat fleet operational, retaining key staff and running our free and affordable paddlesport and canal boating projects for local kids, disability groups and communities in need," said General Manager Tim Molloy.
"Demand for our services has surged since the pandemic and our youth activities are oversubscribed. Heartbreakingly, lockdown closures and limitations on numbers when we've been able to re-open have made it impossible to meet this demand – with devastating impact on our service users and income."
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Development Manager Kal Webb added: "The need for the Pirate Castle has never been greater, we are vital to helping our youth and wider community keep healthy and connected, stay positive and bounce back from Covid's unprecedented impact on their lives. But If we don’t act now, it will be too late".
Labour leader and local MP Sir Keir Starmer is due to visit the Pirate Castle on March 26 if restrictions allow.
"We’re delighted that the MP for Holborn and St Pancras cares about our Charity and what we mean to our community," said Molloy. "We're determined to survive this crisis and continue being a safe, stimulating and supportive destination where local kids and people of all backgrounds and abilities can feel better about themselves and learn new skills on the waterway."