The Seafarers’ Charity’s UK Maritime Anchor Fund supports working-age UK merchant seafarers. The Fund is now open for applications for those impacted by the P&O Ferries redundancies. The Fund will support seafarers through financial help, advice, relationship counselling and mental health and wellbeing support and counselling.
The UK Maritime Anchor Fund was created in 2020 with key delivery partner charities to provide an end-to-end package of support for seafarers experiencing financial hardship related to loss of work or disruption of employment opportunities. The fund will support UK merchant seafarers, of working age, and can be accessed via Seafarers’ Advice and Information Line (SAIL).
The UK Maritime Anchor Fund addresses financial difficulties and their impact which can include strained personal relationships and impact mental health. Merchant seafarers can apply to the Fund if experiencing hardship. Grants are available to cover a significant reduction in income, top-up of Universal Credit and payment of priority debts relating to mortgage or rent, council tax and arrears, etc. The grant is just one part of a wide range of support which will enable a return to stability and financial resilience. It includes:
- Confidential personal advice on financial matters such as budgeting, income maximisation and access to eligible welfare benefits – provided by SAIL
- Advice and help to tackle other related problems such as debt, tax and housing issues – provided by SAIL
- Up to six sessions of free relationship counselling (referrals will be made by SAIL to Relate)
- Mental health and wellbeing support and counselling – provided by TogetherAll and funded by Seafarers’ Hospital Society – who also manage the Anchor Fund administration.
UK merchant seafarers needing help should contact SAIL, a Citizens Advice service for seafarers and their families. SAIL supports seafarers by phone, email and face-to-face appointments via Skype and Zoom. SAIL can be contacted by phone on 0800 160 1842 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAIL will assess entitlement for welfare benefits, and other needs. Where appropriate SAIL will make a grant application to Seafarers’ Hospital Society for financial support. The process has been refined to be as straightforward as possible to reduce admin and stress to applicants.
The Fund is open to any working age, UK national seafarer experiencing hardship because of financial problems regardless of rank or length of service. Anyone in this category facing challenges due to being made redundant is encouraged to contact SAIL to discuss their situation confidentially, whether the challenge is relationship difficulties or problems paying priority debts, the Fund will address a wide range of problems.
The Seafarers’ Charity, Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Spencer said:
‘The Seafarers’ Charity works in the UK and world-wide to support seafarers. We are extremely concerned for the wellbeing for seafarers made redundant on 17 March by P&O Ferries. We are pleased to offer help to P&O Ferries seafarers through the UK Maritime Anchor Fund and encourage UK seafarers to call SAIL to discuss how the fund can help.’
The Seafarers’ Charity collaborated widely to set up the fund, working with Maritime Welfare Charities – SAIL, Seafarers Hospital Society and Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society as well as Relate. Sandra Welch, Chief Executive Officer at Seafarers Hospital Society said:
‘We’re delighted to be involved in this important initiative. We want merchant seafarers to know that support is out there for them and their families. It’s not just about money, this is a holistic approach that addresses their wellbeing as well as their welfare needs.’
The UK Maritime Anchor Fund was developed to specifically assist UK nationals employed as professional seafarers. The Seafarers’ Charity also fund the International Seafarers’ Welfare Assistance Network (ISWAN) to provide an Emergency Fund for international seafarers as well Seafarer Help, a free 24-hour multilingual helpline.