The 2015 roundup.

Yes I know it’s a tiny bit late and we’re well into 2016, but I’ve been waiting to see if any build news came out of the project before updating. Unfortunately, it’s been over a year since the last work was done on the build and (as far as I’m aware from looking at the build) there has been no addition. If this is an error, I’m quite happy to correct it if contacted by a Project spokesperson. But as with my last post, I’m unable to give any build updates.

The only updates I have, which are also in the public domain are that during 2015, the project lost its one and only shipwright (as previously mentioned) and gained a CEO, although he too seems to have parted company with the project after only a few months at the helm.

The Project continues to ask for donations, specifically mentioning the build, yet (due to a continued lack of information), nothing seems to be happening in that area .

The latest figures for the Project show that their yearly income for the year ending in March 2015 was just under half a million pounds, or for those across the pond, approximately three quarters of a million dollars. (source: http://www.charitychoice.co.uk/harwich-mayflower-project-23553). If a portion of that figure was donations, would it be too much to ask how those donations were spent?

Most charities, have a newsletter that explains what they’re doing and where the funds are going. For example “Thank you for all your donations in the last year, with your help we have raised x amount and been able to do X Y and Z”. If anyone has a newsletter/s from the Project that they can forward to me I’d be happy to receive a copy and to post the information here.

A online news site recently ran a piece on the Project and quoted the following:

The project originally aimed to raise £4m and while unable to say how much has been raised, the trust has been able to start the build from donations received so far”

Unable to say how much has been raised”???

Surely any charitable trust would have at least one accountant keeping records and as finances can be publicly accessed (see above), why and more importantly how, is the project not aware of how much has been raised. I’m not too sure I’d want to donate my hard earned cash to a charity if they can’t even keep track of it!

Towards the end of 2015 in October there was a piece in the local newspaper that mentioned a part of this blog. (Source: http://www.harwichandmanningtreestandard.co.uk/news/13924907._Will_Mayflower_ship_be_ready_for_pilgrim_crossing_anniversary__/)

“It’s been almost a year since the last update to the build and since then absolutely nothing has happened.

“I am still hopeful that I will be able to stand on the Harwich Quay in 2020 and wave off the Mayflower as she sets sail to The New World. “Unfortunately as we sail into 2016, there’s a small part of me that thinks I may be walking past a derelict railway yard full of rotting oak instead.”

The project replied as follows:

But a spokesman for the project dismissed the claims and said the build was not intended to start until January 2016, so has in fact started early.

Over the past three years the project has concentrated on the training centre.

It’s about building the ship but it’s about what the ship will give to the area afterwards.”

The Mayflower Project has today launched a new friends scheme   

For £30, or £15 concessions, members of the public can get updates, a certificate and be entered into a spring prize draw to win a case of Mayflower wine.

As far as I can see, this raises a few questions. Firstly, why start a build ‘early’ just to stop work on it for over a year. Next, as we enter March two months after the official build start date, how is that build progressing. Also why waste time and (I’m assuming) donations on starting a build before your admitted ‘start’ date of Jan 2016, just to see the wood laying in the yard? If the build did not start in January 2016 (as the Project said it would) what is the reason for that? As it is now five months since that newspaper piece, I’m assuming there’s been several ‘updates’. Could someone please forward me the ‘updates’ mentioned by the spokesperson so I can pass some information on via this blog.

By its very nature any charity project should be transparent and open. If a charity receives hard earned money from members of the public, surely that charity should at the very least let the public know what is being done with that money? Is it too much to ask that the Harwich Mayflower Project which actively asks for donations for a ship build, keeps the public informed as to how that build is progressing and if it’s not progressing or it’s been held up then surely they should let people know? But then again, maybe they have and I’ve just not seen or heard it.

5 comments

  1. Patricia Claus

    That is absolutely horrendous news, but unfortunately what I expected. Someone in Britain needs to contact the authorities and port these people. Nonprofits in the states need to have an audit done every year according to the bylaws of all upstanding organizations. These people appear to be shysters who have no accountability whatsoever. You should really report them. They need to give an accounting of every pound they have received, and they need to be investigated as soon as humanly possible.

  2. Robert Maughan

    The Mayflower Project pretty much from its inception became a cash cow for local opportunists. I use the euphemism out of respect for our friend, writer of this blog. The reality is that 700 plus trainees passed through the project, bringing monies per head per week for the duration of their non-existent training. Fewer than 3% gained employment as a result, certainly none in the shipbuilding industry. Opportunists in the Training Industry embedded in Colchester Institute were responsible for this rip- off. Where is that money? Mayflower Project accounts are available at the Charity Commission (.gov.uk). Quantities of very expensive oak were bought. Where is that high quality timber? Several changes of management have done nothing to progress the build. Where are those managers? Public donation continues to be solicited. Where is that money to be spent?

    The original concept, a Mayflower replica, was doable in 2010. Now? It’s March 2016 and the keel, sternpost and single rib rot away in the deserted yard. We hear that another change of management is in place. The task? To build Harwich’s Mayflower in less than three years with no professional craftsmen, then to fit it out, recruit officers and crew, get it into the water to undergo lengthy survey and sea trials, establish liaison and administration . . ..

    It’s too late.

  3. Stephany

    Thanks for the informative update. After your last newsletter I have held up thinking about any donation. Sad to see it has come to this. It seemed a very exciting concept

  4. Edmund

    All donations are probably better off being spent on the Mayflower 2. At least that floats, and has proven it’s seaworthy.

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