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How We Help

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society is there for merchant seafarers, fishermen and their dependants to provide vital support in times of crisis.

The help we provide varies from case to case, whether it’s to give an immediate grant to the widow of a serving seafarer who dies, regular grants for individuals whose circumstances call for ongoing support, or practical assistance to seafarers of any nationality shipwrecked on the coast of the British Isles. See right for more information on how we help.

To help us continue this vital work, find out how you can support us.

A total of £1.4 million was paid in grants during the past year. From the many letters of appreciation received at Central Office, we know how our grants make a real difference to needy seafarers and their families.

Hear it first-hand from some of our Beneficiaries:

  • “The difference the new stair lift will make to my life is tremendous; it means I don’t have to use a commode in my lounge, I can sleep in my bedroom and use the bathroom.” 64-year-old widow of a former Merchant Seaman, who, although fairly young, has various health problems, including emphysema and arthritis, which made it very difficult for her to use the stairs. – The Society covered the cost of the occupational therapist’s report and the stair lift.
  • “I write to thank you for the yearly grant that is such a help in many ways, especially to my independence in travelling, there being no public transport in the district. I must also [thank you] for the generous grant covering the cost of my adjustable bed, which is proving to be a tremendous help with my breathing problems that are particularly bad at night.” – This ex-fisherman who spent 20 years at sea has qualified for a regular grant since 2000. Suffering from heart problems and deteriorating breathing difficulties he had to try and sleep propped up with pillows; we were delighted to be able to help him with a much-needed adjustable bed.
  • An 85-year-old former Merchant Seaman required funding for a dropped kerb to make it easier for him in his wheelchair. He is a double amputee and is cared for by his son and daughter-in-law. Following a stroke and the onset of dementia he cannot now communicate. The kerb was quite high and caused problems with access – two people had to manually lift him in his wheelchair between the road and pavement every time he went to and from his daily respite care sessions. We split the £800 cost between ourselves and the Seamen’s Hospital Society.
  • “Please accept my thanks for having arranged to have my back windows replaced. They really are a dream and only fitted just in time as the wind blew the bedroom one out last weekend. Please accept my sincere thanks. I know my husband would be so grateful too.”  – The Society was able to assist an 84-year-old widow with a special grant to cover the cost of urgently-needed windows.
  • “I would like to thank your committee for buying my recliner chair. This will make my life a lot easier – and my wife’s. It will mean I can be in the same room as my wife for longer periods, as I used to have to go to bed to ease my back.”  – Having suffered a heart attack in 2000 and a stroke in 2002, this gentleman, aged 62, is receiving treatment for asbestosis and spinal cancer. We were able to purchase a special recliner chair to enable him to spend more time in the company of his wife rather than being bedridden for much of the time.
  • A 73-year-old former fisherman asked if we could help with the cost of a riser/recliner chair. Due to severe spondylosis, osteoporosis and arthritis he found it difficult to get in and out of a chair. We covered the cost of the chair and owing to his limited income took him on as a regular beneficiary. – “I would like to thank the Shipwrecked Mariners so very much for helping me. The cooker is wonderful and to make a roast dinner was really excellent. I can’t explain my gratitude to you.” This 64-year-old merchant seafarer had to leave the sea in 1995 through ill health. Now suffering from heart disease and aggressive bowel cancer his circumstances meant he needed his cooker to be replaced with some urgency, which the Society was able to arrange through its COMET scheme. After review we found that the gentleman could also be taken on as a regular grant beneficiary.
  • An 81-year-old former fisherman with 44 years at sea and his wife had been living on microwaved meals as their cooker had broken some time ago and their television had been loaned to them. We purchased a cooker and TV for them and given their meagre income we took them on as regular beneficiaries. This should ensure that they do not get into similar circumstances again.
  • “What a joy it was to receive my grant cheque – it will make such a difference to our lives. With this first cheque we will be renewing our old washing machine, which we have nursed along for 30 years!” – Both Mr and Mrs M struggle with debilitating health issues. We initially helped them in 2005 to claim all statutory benefits to which they are entitled. When their situation resulted in serious financial difficulties, we were able to assist further and lighten the load to some extent by taking Mr M on as a regular grant beneficiary
  • “May I please express my sincere thanks for the help with removal expenses? Words cannot really express my feelings, as in a few short weeks my life has improved by some 50 per cent. Not having to walk up the road because of the steepness of the hill, I can now go for short walks at any time.” – This 79-year-old gentleman with heart disease had to move from a second floor flat to a suitably adapted ground floor flat. The Society provided funds to assist with the move.
  • “I would like to say thank you for what your people have done for me. I am glad to know that seamen are never forgotten. I only wish I could be back at sea as I miss it so much.” – We were able to give special help to a regular beneficiary through our COMET scheme.
  • “In the past I had not applied for Pension Credit as I thought it would affect my Council Tax Benefit. However after taking your advice, I have now confirmed that I am eligible and will be receiving £13.10 weekly which will be a big help with living expenses. Without your help, which I very much appreciate, I would never have applied.” – This is an example of how our financial advice ensures all potential beneficiaries receive the benefits to which they are entitled and makes a significant difference in people’s lives.
  • “I would like to take the opportunity to say a big thank you to the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society for supplying a new cooker. It has made a huge difference to me as I have begun to take a new interest in cooking and my meals are far more nutritionally balanced.” – The Society helped a 90-year-old widow suffering with arthritis in her hands and a previously broken hip. Her husband had died in 1982 after 31 years of sea service.

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Send ‘SMSY11 £10’* to 70070 *Donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10

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