COVID-19: Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive’s Message to Supporters
As we’re all facing unprecedented challenges to our everyday lives as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic I wanted to thank you for helping us with our essential and ongoing work. It is our loyal supporters that allow us to make a significant difference to the lives of so many seafarers and their families, noting that this community continues to be a vulnerable and often forgotten sector of society, especially during this current crisis.
I can report that in the last 12 months the Charity received nearly 500 new applications for assistance. We helped wherever we could, but we couldn’t help everyone. We paid out nearly £1.4 million in over 2,000 cases of need; when merchant mariners, fishermen and their dependants face hardship and distress, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society is often the only place they can turn.
I’d like to highlight just a few recent examples of how your support has helped to alleviate adversity:
Mr. P, in his 50s with over 30 years sea service, was without heating or hot water following a boiler failure and had moved to a friend’s house while applying for help. He wasn’t eligible for any Government grants and with no way to afford the £1,750 himself, we agreed to cover the cost.
Mr T, in his early 60s with nearly 40 years sea service, was struggling financially. Unable to work whilst recovering from cancer, but still caring for his disabled wife, he requested support for a specialist bed for Mrs T. We were able to provide the bed but noting his inability to work for the foreseeable future we also awarded a regular grant to supplement their very low income.
Mr G, in his late 30s with 13 years sea service, had been homeless for over 3 years. Having found temporary accommodation in a hostel he had then been subject to a vicious attack and felt very anxious and unsafe. Working with another charity we were able to find him some private accommodation and provide £1,000 to help set up in his new home.
Without the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society needs such as these would likely go unmet – it’s as simple as that.
Our work continues to be much in demand; none more so than in these times of extraordinary upheaval. We have yet to see the full impact of Coronavirus on our beneficiaries but we are already receiving many additional cases of need coming through – particularly from the fishing community.
As we all respond to this crisis as best we can, we know it’s thanks to your on‑going financial help that we are able to continue serving our beneficiaries with professionalism and compassion.
On behalf of all those whose lives have been eased by your kindness, and who can’t say it to you directly – thank you. Please stay safe.
With best wishes,
Capt Justin Osmond RN
To support the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s work please visit: shipwreckedmariners.org.uk/donate
Cheques, made payable to ‘Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’ can be sent to: SMS, 1 North Pallant, Chichester PO19 1TL