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Boleh Project Set to Inspire Young Portsmouth People

Published: 5th December 2012 16:26

 l-r Apprentices Samantha Perks, Reuben Wincott,  Henry Durman, Will Wiltshire

Young apprentices have been given the opportunity to learn traditional boat building skills with the restoration of the historic ‘Boleh' boat.

It's a great apprenticeship to find. There's so much history behind the boat. Henry Durman, apprentice

Boleh, built in Singapore in 1949, is an historic junk-yacht of unique design. It is being restored in Portsmouth and turned into the perfect vessel for providing inspirational training to disadvantaged young people.

Project manager Katy Hutchinson stated "Our aim of the Boleh project is to help young people now and in the future".

It interested me but I am starting from scratch. I like working with my hands.
Will Wiltshire, apprentice

"We have four brand new apprentices between the ages of 17 and 21 and they will be learning boat building skills and also maintain British heritage".

Having just been awared £500k from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Boleh Project is also working with Charter Academy to help young people who don't necessarily learn well within the normal environment.

 Boleh on the seas

"We are taking them out of that environment and they are doing film projects, photography and drawings with the help of Charter Academy" Kate added.

Dame Sharon Hollows, Head at Charter Academy was at the press launch yesterday and said, "It helps us to address our greatest challenge which is lack of aspiration amongst our children. We really want our children to be proud of themselves, proud of their city and proud of their heritage. This project has got absolutely everything going for it because when we try and encourage our children to be determined and to challenge problems to overcome difficulties and barriers, this projects tells the story and will bring our curriculum to life."

In 2014, Boleh will be fully restored with the help of the young apprentices. Samantha Perks is one of the apprentices and has had a keen interest in boats since she was a child. Samantha, from Gosport, said, "I've grown around boats all of my life and I thought, well why not build them! I  helped do a little bit of maintenance from being young. My family have had boats since before I was born. I can't wait to get it in the water."

I'm really enjoying it. I've been sailing on yachts all my life and my dad was a keen sailor. I've got a knack for it and a real passion. Reuben Wincott, apprentice

The Boleh project has visited the comprehensive Charter Academy raising awareness in the community, educating students about Boleh's history and restoration. Katy added, "Boleh doesn't have a history with Portsmouth, so we would like to create that history with her restoration being here".

Alastair Fairley, HLF Committee member for South East, "This one in particular was an easy one to make a decision about  because it had everything. It had a wonderful story which is very easy to inspire people with... but it's also got a lot of heritage involved  in terms of the approach that was taken to build the boat, the model that was adopted and it's extremely unusual to have something like that in this country."

For more information about the project, visitv www.bolehproject.com

With thanks to Jordan Porter, University of Portsmouth Media Student

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