Maritime charity Sailors' Society has launched a new fund to provide urgent welfare grants for seafarers and their families in desperate need.
The Sea Change Fund has been set up in response to a huge increase in calls for the charity's help, with demand for grants increasing by 850 per cent in the first 18 months of the pandemic.
The fund will provide small emergency payments to seafarers and their dependents matching the grant criteria, to help address immediate needs.
Sailors' Society's CEO Sara Baade said: 'Calls for support have never been greater than now. We launched our Sea Change Fund to help answer these cries, so seafarers and their families who need urgent financial assistance to pay for food, medical bills, schooling or a roof over their heads can get support quickly.'
Sickness, unemployment and bereavement have left rising numbers of seafaring families, who are often from deprived areas of the world to start with, struggling to put food on the table.
Just before Christmas, Super Typhoon Rai (Odette) struck the Philippines, where large numbers of seafarers live, killing hundreds and leaving many more without shelter when their homes were destroyed.
'Seafarers have endured a challenging couple of years, often full of fear and uncertainty and far away from loved ones,' said Ms Baade. 'We owe them a great debt and now, more than ever, is the time to join together to support our keyworkers of the sea and make the sea change needed when a crisis hits.'
Grants are made via application and can assist with a range of pressing welfare needs, including help with vital bills like food and medicine, education costs, or in emergency situations such as natural disaster or cases of abandonment.
- find out more and or make a donation towards Sailors' Society's Sea Change Fund