Posted on: 27 May 2015
The leading maritime charity, Seafarers UK, is to provide £1.17m in funding towards the building of a major new extension to the Trinity House Hub retirement home for ex-seafarers at Mariners’ Park in Wallasey, Merseyside. The announcement was made by HRH The Earl of Wessex, President of Seafarers UK, to more than 150 of the charity’s supporters and beneficiaries at its Annual Meeting at Mansion House in London on Tuesday 19 May.
The new Seafarers UK Centenary Wing will provide 22 single and double occupancy apartments for retired and elderly Merchant Navy and Royal Navy seafarers, and their dependants, and is due to open by the late Spring of 2017, during the charity’s Centenary year. The additional apartments will meet a real need for high quality housing and with a 24 hour care staff team on site will be able to support ‘a balanced community’ of those with low, medium and high needs.
Speaking at the event, HRH The Earl of Wessex described the founding of ‘The King George V Fund for Sailors’ (now Seafarers UK) in response to WWI losses as being ‘The Help for Heroes of 1917’. He strongly emphasised the continuing need for the charity’s vital coordination and support of welfare services and ongoing campaigning to raise public awareness of seafarers. The Earl of Wessex described the charity’s upcoming Centenary as being very much ‘about the future’ and highlighted his pleasure in ‘lighting the fuse’ by announcing the first of several major fundraising projects for Seafarers UK. He said: ‘I hope the Centenary in 2017 is a huge success for everyone involved in it.’
Commodore Barry Bryant, Director General of Seafarers UK said: ‘Seafarers UK has always been focused on helping those in need across the entire maritime community, but in particular the UK’s older, retired and veteran seafarers, and their dependants. Over the next few years, and as we lead up to our Centenary, we want to do even more to highlight the extraordinary contribution to this island nation of our seafarers both past and present. And just as importantly, we intend to promote the opportunities that exist for the young seafarers of tomorrow.’
The capital project grant – to be provided over three years (2015-2017) – will provide the Nautilus Welfare Fund, which operates the Mariners’ Park estate, with the majority of the funding it needs for the design and building work. The remainder of the funds will then be raised by the Nautilus Welfare Fund, as well as through further fundraising by Seafarers UK. The Seafarers UK Centenary Wing is one of three legacy projects that Seafarers UK will be fundraising for as part of its Centenary Appeal, which will focus on supporting the seafarers of the past, present and future and is to be formerly launched later this year.
At the Annual Meeting, Seafarers UK also launched its 2014/15 Impact Report, highlighting that last year the charity awarded £2.48m in funding, helping over 170,000 people. It achieved this by providing 93 grants to 70 key maritime projects and organisations in the UK and overseas, which in turn provided welfare and education services to those serving and ex-seafarers most in need, and their dependants. To see the full report, please go to http://www.seafarers-uk.org/about-us/publications/