Nick Entwisle has been living in Mallorca for the past 31 years. After having spent 15 years working in banking for a large Spanish bank in the City, which sent him to Madrid to learn Spanish, he decided to turn his back on the world of finance and qualify as a skipper in the UK before relocating to Mallorca, an island he had always loved and where he had wanted to live.
“I spent some eight to nine years messing about on yachts and became involved as a volunteer with the Pinmar charity golf tournament. Five years later, they offered me a job and I spent the next 22 years with them until the 2003 buyout, which was when I became a shareholder and director of the new venture until I retired last year.
“Although I had been running the Pinmar golf tournament for 27 years, during which time we raised over a million euros for charity, I was not a golfer and I didn’t fancy learning how to play in my retirement. However, an idea of doing some charitable work had been at the back of my mind for some time; I just didn’t know how to start or who to help.
“During Christmas 2018, I was sitting at my desk looking down at a jam-packed STP. There were hundreds of millions of euros-worth of megayachts lined up -Palma’s biggest shipyard had never been so full. I thought that they must surely have a few packets of rice, pasta or beans that they could spare, and the first seed was sown for Yachting Gives Back.
“So, I managed to convince Suzie Black, the founder of youth empowerment charity Fundación Shambhala, to come and give a talk at one of the last golf tournaments. She brought the house down, was an inspiration to us all and I guess that is really when the Yachting Gives Back charity started to get going, the name of which I must give credit to Sarah Forge, your very own ‘Nauti Lady’ at the Bulletin, and also Ian Douglas of Pinmar who designed our wonderful logo.”
Now based at his headquarters in a shipping container in the STP shipyard, Nick has a dedicated army of volunteers helping a number of charities, in particular the Asociación Tardor in Palma.
“Tardor is not so much of what we would call a soup kitchen in the UK, but more of a social kitchen. They have hairdressers who pop in to offer their services as do beauticians doing manicures, etc. There’s so much more to it than providing hot meals, although that’s paramount. Even though Tardor only provides food at lunchtime, if there is any cooked food left offer, it offers a takeaway service so people can leave with another hot meal for later in the day.
“At the moment Tardor can handle between 60 and 80 people a day but a second three-storey centre is being developed which will be able to cater for over 70 people, so we’re also busy collecting and providing things like bedding for the new complex.
“The support we’ve had from the yachting community and the general public at large has been overwhelming since we started out last year. While the pandemic has posed a huge challenge to us and all the local food banks, it’s also brought the very best out of numerous people.
“For example, Jan Richards started cooking meals for us to deliver on her yacht Panthalassa and, before we knew it, as many as ten yachts started doing the same. We had three on the same quay in Palma all cooking on the same day in coordination, so we could do one massive meal pick-up.
“The skipper of the super yacht Pacific, which has spent most of the summer in Palma, was also extremely helpful. Ironically, I taught him to sail and he’s one of my oldest friends. His Italian chef started cooking ready meals for us; at one point he was knocking out as many as 200 per week. Once its season ended here in Palma, he opened up his walk-in freezer to us and said ‘help yourselves’. We filled up an entire transit van.
“Johnny Moloney at Ca n’Eduardo was also cooking meals for us once the pandemic restrictions were lifted and we could move around more. Michelin Star chef Koldo Royo has also lent his services to Tardor. But it’s not all Palma-based. One of the great ideas I had never seen before was the food collection charities carry-out at local supermarkets.
“It’s such a simple idea. You do your shop, buy a few non-perishables and then drop them in the charity collection trolleys as you leave. So I decided to help, and with a team of volunteers took control of the collection point at the Eroski in Bendinat. Volunteers are also regularly manning collection points at supermarkets in Palmanova, Portals and San Agustin. We also have a collection point in Deya and that’s very productive.
“I’m on the road every day, be it going to house clearances to pick up unwanted furniture and other much needed items for shelters, but also donations of food. Having the main headquarters inside the STP shipyard means that the general public can’t walk in, but all people have to do is give me a call, drop us an email or contact us via Facebook and we will collect.
“What we need most are non-perishable food items which have not been opened and are in date, toiletries, bedding, single sheets, baby items - everything and anything to be honest.
“The beauty about having the support of the yachting industry is that crews are continuously changing their uniforms, etc. and they always use top-of-the-range quality clothing, so we get a regular flow of unwanted clothing because of that. During the refit and repair season, when yacht interiors are upgraded and redesigned, we also receive a lot of unwanted furniture and household items, so that’s a great plus as well.
“But I fear, well I guess we all do, that tougher times are coming with this pandemic and we’re going to have our work cut out. The yachting industry just about managed to keep its head above water during the summer. I know many of the charters and yachts decided to head east towards the likes of Croatia, but a lot of owners decided to forget the season and lift their yachts on to the hard for refits and repairs, and we’re now obviously into the refit and repair season.
“But November's starting, furloughs are about to end here in January and there are going to be so many people unable to claim unemployment benefit because they haven’t worked and been paid enough in this summer. So there are going to be scores of people who may be able to pay the rent but have no money for food, and these people will need our help more than ever to get through what is going to be a rough winter.
“It’s a balancing act between tackling the real risk while reducing economic damage. I know the politicians are getting flak from all sides but I do sympathise. They are acting on science, but do the scientists really know what they are dealing with and what’s going to happen? There’s no magic wand and while I am inundated with volunteers wishing to help, due to the restrictions there are only so many we can take on.
“That said, while we’re very much Palma to Santa Ponsa focused, I worry about what is happening elsewhere across the island and would like to see some satellite operations open up in the east and south.
“So, if anyone wants to help just get in touch - please.”
To help, call Nick on 34 619 117 937 or visit www.yachtinggivesback.com or Facebook.