Charity all at sea following short eviction notice
A CHARITY organisation faces being made homeless by the end of the week, despite calls on its landowners to reconsider.
The Ministry of Defence has given Anglesey’s branch of the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS) until August 5 to vacate its base on Ynys Gaint near Menai Bridge.
The building, which formerly housed the Royal Naval Auxilary Service, is used by the MVS in its aims of providing maritime training and opportunities for those with an interest in nautical skills.
But the group has now been given until Friday to vacate the premises it has been leasing from the MoD since 1994.
Mike Thompson of the group, which is the only Welsh speaking branch in the UK, said: “We have 57 members and are the only MVS branch in North Wales.
“We meet at least once a week and sometimes also train on the water.
“The Army Cadets have already vacated, but the MoD have gone back on their original promise of serving us with our notice eight weeks after the building had been sold.
“Vacating by the end of the week, bearing in mind all our equipment, is proving to be very difficult.”
Regional Volunteer Officer Robert Hughes-Mullock added: “As a training organisation, we have links with the Menai Strait going back to 1877.
“We train young people in maritime skills, offering heavily reduced prices for professional maritime qualifications for local young people and provide an important community role for retired Mariners eager to pass on their experience to a younger generation.
“The news that the MoD has brought to an end 174 years of continuous maritime training has come as a bitter blow.
“We would like to engage with the local community to help us in our campaign to have the MoD transfer this small peice of the island to us, securing this site as a centre of maritime training for North Wales.”
Despite the process of moving their equipment having already started, the island’s AM has urged the MoD to reconsider.
“It would be a great shame to lose this facility, which provides the only Welsh speaking maritime service in Wales,” said Rhun ap Iorwerth.
“I have asked the MoD if more time could be given to try and find a solution which would allow the MVS to stay at this site, and perhaps to consider a Community Asset Transfer.
“Losing the building would not only leave them with nowhere to train and keep their equipment, but would also leave a huge void in the local maritime community.”
Despite repeated attempts, the Ministry of Defence has not yet responded to any of our requests for a comment on the situation.
The Menai Bridge’s Maritime Volunteer Service has started moving out of its facility on Ynys Gain. Pictured are Ynys Mon AM Rhun ap Iorwerth with Giles Pepperell, Dr Jenny Byast, David Mills, Mike Thompson and Hillary Hunt