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ECFRS has part-funded a sprinkler system on a charity's lightship

Fellowship Afloat Charitable Trust’s (FACT) converted lightship, Trinity, is a floating residential centre which is primarily used by youngsters.

Recently the charity has upgraded the ship and installed a new sprinkler system at a cost of £20,750, of which ECFRS contributed £10,375 from its sprinkler fund.

Trinity, which is used by school, youth, church and special needs groups, can accommodate up to 48 guests in 16 cabins. Guests can try many different activities including sailing, kayaking, powerboating, dredging, a high ropes course, climbing wall, team games and archery. The charity also runs Royal Yachting Association courses.

Mike Sparrow, Fire Engineer and Enforcement Officer, said: “The lightship is an innovative idea that welcomes children from lots of different backgrounds, so we’re really glad we could help.

“It’s the first time our Service has put funding towards sprinklers on a ship. In terms of fire safety, a suppression system was the best answer. You’re basically in a metal structure so the temperate will rise very quickly in the event of a fire.

“A suppression system brings the temperature down and limits the fire to the place of origin, giving the maximum time for occupants to get off the ship.”

The sprinkler system is part of the charity’s ‘Trinity 3 project’ – a £1.7 million project which aims to increase accommodation, add a meeting area, new toilets and showers and a staircase linking all three levels of the lightship. The final part of the project, scheduled for this winter, will be to update the galley kitchen and dining area, replace the glazing and finalise the new accessible entrance.

Andrew Eastham, FACT’s Chief Executive, said: “The lightship is such an amazing place for young people to stay. It is a unique iconic facility in a beautiful location, on the Essex marshes, and a place where people can have adventures and make memories that last a lifetime.

“It’s vital to have everything in place safety wise and the sprinkler is a really important upgrade for the lightship. We are grateful to Essex County Fire and Rescue Service for its support and advice.”

The lightship was built in 1954 for Trinity House – the organisation which looks after shipping navigation marks around the UK. However, lightships were decommissioned in the Seventies and Eighties.

Fellowships Afloat Charitable Trust bought the lightship in 1988 after outgrowing the former Thames Barge activity centre.

About 2,500 people use it every year.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service provides grants of up to £50,000 per sprinkler installation project to successful not-for-profit applicants. For more information on our Service’s sprinkler fund click here.

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