A new multimillion pound grant scheme to help revolutionise the maritime sector has been launched by a leading welfare provider. More than £2m is available in the grant pot, issued by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB), which is available for maritime charities and organisations looking to run projects in the following areas:
• Career, skills & diversity: plugging skill gaps, broadening the pool of talent and providing equal opportunities for seafarers, and fostering creativity.
• People: Research and support for programmes to alleviate seafarer mental health and wellbeing issues.
Stuart Rivers, Chief Executive Officer of the MNWB which supports and promotes co-operation between organisations that provide welfare services to seafarers, fishermen and their dependents, said: “There’s no escaping how recent crises, including the pandemic, war on Ukraine and P&O Ferries’ situation, have taken their toll on seafarers across the world. To be frank, they’ve endured an insufferable time. Welfare charities working on the front line have also been under pressure to respond to these crises.
“But, as we start to rebuild, this new fund offers an opportunity for maritime charities far and wide to relish and will help support the recovery of the maritime sector. Unrealised plans to kickstart a project that improves the mental health or wellbeing of seafarers or those looking to bridge the gender gap, can now become a reality.”
“We want to hear your ideas and plans so we strongly urge you to come forward and start applying. Ultimately, over time, we want to see a range of projects that will transform the sector for the greater good.”
The new grant was unveiled at the Board’s bi-annual UK Port Welfare Conference last week. The three-day conference in Southampton was dedicated to the provision of front-line welfare services for seafarers and fishers. More than 70 delegates, including PWC chairs, port chaplains, ship welfare visitors and seafarer centre managers attended.
As the UK National Seafarers’ Welfare Board (NSWB), the Board maintains 16 Port Welfare Committees (PWCs) covering all UK ports and Gibraltar. With a combined membership of 358 and each one meeting three times a year, the committees continue to serve as an important platform for regional maritime partnerships to monitor and improve the quality of welfare services for seafarers.