The non-profit maritime charity UKSA has announced that plans for its new 136-bed accommodation centre have now been approved, with work commencing onsite from the beginning of February. 

The project has been made possible by a number of donations, including US$1.9 million from the TK Foundation, an additional £450,000 pledge from the Whirlwind Charitable Trust and a new £300k donation from The Bradbury Foundation. These leading donations have also been supported by significant commitments from several other key Trusts and individuals that have committed major donations towards this transformational project. 

The new accommodation centre on its waterfront site in Cowes, Isle of Wight will enable an additional 3,000 children and young people to visit UKSA each year, allowing the organisation to continue growing its impact on life skills and career prospects. Central to its design, the new facility will have configurable zones providing more flexible arrangements for all, alongside improved safeguarding and better disabled access.

“We have been working on plans for this new facility since 2017, when we launched UKSA’s Building Better Futures campaign with our Patron, HRH Princess Royal,” explains Ben Willows, CEO of UKSA.  “Our aim was to raise £4m in order to transform our facilities. We have now raised £3.7m and I’m thrilled to say that building work is now set to commence – I am so grateful for all the support that our donors have provided, it has been humbling to have received such generous support.”

The first phase of work will see the demolition of the Ark Royal, a 1929 brick building with 66 beds. Despite many refurbishments over the years, the building is no longer fit for purpose. The new accommodation centre will replace Ark Royal and will increase UKSA's efficiency by optimising occupancy and improve the quality of service offered to students.

The UKSA site will remain fully operational throughout the development works, with completion of the works planned for mid-2022. 

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