The Jubilee Sailing Trust has issued an urgent call for £1m in funding to stave off the charity’s collapse and the possible loss of 51 jobs.
The charity said in a statement to supporters over the weekend that it needed the funding before the end of 5 July to keep the charity’s operations running.
The trust, which was set up in 1978, runs specially adapted tall ships that offer disabled and disadvantaged people the opportunity to sail.
The statement said it was "very likely" the charity would be unable to operate if it did not hit its funding target before the deadline.
The call for funding comes after a difficult year at the charity, the statement said, because of a number of "substantial mechanical issues" affecting its ships, a poorly attended 2018 winter programme and partner projects being deferred from this summer to 2020.
The statement from the charity said this had increased the charity’s short-term liabilities and additional income had not been sufficient to cover the shortfall.
According to the Charity Commission’s website, the JST had an income of almost £3.8m in the year to 31 March 2018, but spent nearly £5m – a loss of £1.2m.
The statement said the trustees decided at a meeting last week to launch the emergency funding drive in a bid to tackle the serious financial challenges the charity faced.
Any funds donated would be put in a ring-fenced account, the statement said, and used only if a meeting by the board on 8 July decided the charity was still viable.
The statement said that failure to meet this target would probably see the immediate cessation of all JST activities.
"This would, of course, be a very sad conclusion to four amazing decades of such important and ground-breaking work, and it is particularly disappointing given the strength of our plans for later this year and beyond," the statement said.
"This decision has not been taken lightly and follows extensive consultation with restructuring professionals. It also considers the trustees’ fiduciary responsibilities and the requirement for good governance of the charity, along with its duty to all stakeholders."