The charity, Seafarers UK, has helped seafarers and fishers since its origins as the King George’s Fund for Sailors. As the third COVID-19 lockdown endures, the charity continues to support UK fishers and their families through a range of delivery partners who provide specialist help.
Seafarers UK CEO Catherine Spencer said: ‘Fishing is facing excessive problems due to external factors, and for many fishers, life is currently very challenging and upsetting. Seafarers UK funds support for the unique problems faced by those who work at sea.
‘We want to encourage fishers to use the support available to help them through the next few months. A good starting point is the approachable and knowledgeable Fishing Specialist Caseworker at Seafarers Advice and Information Line (SAIL), funded by Seafarers UK, but there are other services provided too. It’s really important that fishers don’t suffer alone and make full use of all the help available.’
Seafarers UK funds delivery partners to provide confidential and helpful solutions for fishers, which include:
- The popular Fathom Podcast, listened to by 4,268 individuals, gives current information to fishers to help navigate new regulatory and policy changes.
- The Fishing Animateurs project can help with claims for Government grants or Universal Credit.
- Seafarers Advice and Information Line’s Fishing Specialist Caseworker can advise on help for those experiencing problems with debts, housing, welfare benefits or needing financial support. They provide a gateway to other maritime charities that can provide hardship grants to those who are eligible. SAIL can also make referrals for free relationship counselling (funded by Seafarers UK) for those who are finding the current uncertainty is affecting their relationships.
- TogetherAll, funded by Seafarers’ Hospital Society, provides free counselling for those who are concerned about their mental wellbeing.
- Seafarers UK is a long-term funder and supporter of maritime welfare charities such as The Fishermen’s Mission, Sailors’ Children Society, and Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society all of whom collaborate with SAIL and Seafarers’ Hospital Society to enable hardship grants and support to be provided to those in most need.
- In addition to the advice and support listed above, Seafarers UK also supported the start-up of Call4Fish, with funding totalling £14,500 in 2020 to enable them to support fishers to sell their catch directly to consumers.
Seafarers UK’s most recent report, ‘Fishing without A Safety Net’, uncovered a host of financial difficulties, and informed their response to a range of new initiatives to support the financial resilience of the sector. It has an ambitious range of recommendations to improve life for fishers which will be announced in due course. However, it is recognised that in many cases there is also immediate financial hardship and need among the fishing community and there are already many organisations that are funded by Seafarers UK who are poised and ready to help. A useful starting point for anyone experiencing financial problems is the Seafarers Advice and Information Line who can be contacted on 0800 160 1842.