A NEW project could set sail which would see ten young people taking on a life-changing voyage.

Harwich councillor Ivan Henderson has been working to explore different options to raise funds for the educational trips offered by the Tall Ships Trust Charity and he hopes businesses will get on board.

The trust is a youth development charity which helps young people aged between 12 and 25 redefine their horizons through learning at sea.

While undertaking the adventure, they are faced with experiences and situations which challenge them and help them realise their own potential.

Mr Henderson told a meeting of the Harwich Tourism Group: “If you go out on one of these trips, you will go through experiences which will boost your trust, courage, social skills and leadership skills.

“What we want to do is make young people feel there’s something in Harwich for them.

“If we can show them there is an opportunity, maybe they can get held in our town.

“I think there’s a good opportunity and if we can engage with young people, they wouldn’t be out in the streets causing problems to others and we could turn their lives around.”

The Tall Ships Trust accommodates those with special educational needs and disabilities from varying degrees of learning difficulty to fine motor co-ordination challenges or youngsters who have problems with social interaction.

Mr Henderson, deputy mayor, said if he’s voted to be a mayor this year, he is going to set up a Mayor’s charity which will work with young people in the area.

He added: “I want to carry on Harwich’s proud, traditional and historic maritime background, because we can’t allow that to disappear.

“This year we are going to raise £8,500 to send ten people on the trip, and I’m in talks with businesses in our town to support the project.”

He also said he hoped the project will turn into an annual event.

Fiona Brunning, Harwich Haven Authority’s communications manager said they are working closely with Mr Henderson and the Tall Ships Trust to facilitate the safe entry and berthing of their vessels in the Harbour.