Shoreham Fort needs more friends and more funding

Shoreham Fort trustees, from left, Sharon Penfold, Gary Baines and Andy Vincent
Shoreham Fort trustees, from left, Sharon Penfold, Gary Baines and Andy Vincent

FRIENDS of Shoreham Fort are in urgent need of more friends and funding.

The small team of trustees has put out an appeal for help, having spent hundreds of hours a week keeping the project going.

The annual meeting, held at Sussex Yacht Club on Thursday, heard a successful 2014 had seen a wide variety of events and activities at the fort, off Fort Haven, on Shoreham Beach.

Part of that success was down to funding from the Shoreham Harbour Regeneration pot, which meant Friends chairman Gary Baines was made management co-ordinator for the year.

He said: “Outreach and the sourcing of additional funding streams were my full-time job for 12 months.

“We successfully achieved the outreach, which was fantastic. Unfortunately, the funding sources took a back seat due to the vast number of reports, etc., that we had to complete.

“Being funded for 37½ hours a week really did benefit the project, especially with all the hurdles.”

The funding has not been extended this year, which has put pressure on the Friends to keep up the momentum.

Mr Baines said: “With the talks, tours and school visits, the many events that we are working on and the tasks we have planned, it is going to be busy, fun and satisfying to be part of the team that makes such a difference to not only the unique fort but to the community around it, too.

“But, and it’s a big but, we need your help. For this project to continue, then Sharon, Andy and I cannot continue at the rate that we have and we can’t expect Julie to either.”

He admitted it would be ‘very difficult’ to continue at the same rate, without more funding and more friends.

Trustee Andy Vincent set supporters two challenges, to think of ways to raise much-needed funds and suggest people who can help the project.

“Let’s see how many friends we can introduce this year,” he said. “Remember there is a job for everyone and many hands make light work.”

Julie Searle has joined as a new trustee and a fifth trustee is now being sought. She suggested they needed to find ways to delegate more, for example the talks and fort tours.