Can you help an award-winning Sunderland heritage project? Here's what they need in 2022

A group which is dedicated to Sunderland’s maritime past has revealed exciting plans for 2022 – but it needs the support of skilled Wearside people.

Monday, 3rd January 2022, 5:00 am

Sunderland Maritime Heritage wants to renovate a Royal Navy cutter and to give it a very special future.

The group has applied for a grant to convert the cutter into a children’s display and storytelling area. If successful, work will start early in 2022.

It is also planning a refurbishment of its display areas and will be revitalising its photos, pictures, magazines and books.

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Sunderland Maritime Heritage which has exciting plans for 2022.

On top of all that, there will be more work on its model of HMS Venerable which is a 1/10 scale model of an 18th century gun ship.

There will also be work on a new build of a coble.

The progress of the work can all be viewed at the SMH visitor centre which is based in Church Street East in Old Sunderland. It houses the group’s workshops and artefact display areas which recount the history of shipbuilding and related maritime activities on the River Wear.

The centre is run and manned by a dedicated, part-time team of around 30 volunteers. It is totally self-funded and relies on grants and donations to keep the centre operational as well as to fund their project work.

The volunteer group at Sunderland Maritime Heritage.

Chris Carolan, Chairman of SMH, said: “SMH is very grateful for the monetary donations we receive from funders and the public - directly or through schemes on Amazon, EBay and Paypal for instance,

"But what we really need at the moment is people to donate their skills and time to help with some of our operational tasks. Our volunteers are our primary resource and their enthusiasm and hard work recently led to our receiving a Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

"SMH volunteers are mainly “hands on” working on renovation projects but the centre is also in desperate need of committed volunteers to help us fill

essential administration and management roles.”

SMH volunteer Alan Denham working on HMS Venerable.

The group’s website is in ‘desperate need of updating and revamping’, said officials.

They want to ensure it is functional on all media platforms and anyone who can bring to them the skills to do this, would be most welcome.

SMH also needs a Trustee/Secretary to join the other volunteers in their management team to help them maintain their office functions, their procedures and policies, and manage all their administrative needs and obligations.

Chris added: “We do have admin help for this role, so it would suit someone who may have retired but is looking to give something back to the community by donating their management and organisational skills to help a small local charity and be a a key member of the charity management team essentially helping to run the organisation.”

A display room at Sunderland Maritime Heritage.

Sunderland Maritime Heritage was honoured in June with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service which is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The group is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month and is run by unpaid volunteers. The centre offers an interactive heritage experience for all with a workshop area demonstrating boatbuilding, woodworking and engineering skills.

It has a visitor centre which illustrates the development of Sunderland’s 600-year history in ship building and associated trades.

Anyone who can help out should email [email protected] for an informal chat.

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The workshop at Sunderland Maritime Heritage.

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