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Grant funding secured for vital Nautilus maritime caseworker service

2 May 2024

Funding for the Nautilus caseworker service – which helps UK seafarers claim back millions of pounds in welfare benefits they are entitled to – has been secured thanks to a new grant from The Seafarers' Charity.

The free service, run by the Nautilus Welfare Fund charity, has six caseworkers based in port areas of the UK including Merseyside; Hull and Grimsby; Southampton and Portsmouth; Glasgow; Cardiff and South Wales; and Tyne and Wear.

The grant from The Seafarers' Charity of £313,752 has been awarded to the Fund covering caseworker salaries over the next two years for the service which began in Merseyside in 2010.

In 2023, the caseworkers continued their vital work for mariners by supporting a record 768 retired and needy seafarers and their dependants, and helping clawback over £1.2m in financial benefits and grants.

Caseworkers can visit mariners in their own homes to help them secure grants for housing access, care and financial assessments and many other services; as well as help with benefits. It is also available to retired Merchant Navy seafarers living at Nautilus Mariners' Park.

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Tyne and Wear: typical interventions

A couple of cases dealt with by award-winning Tyne and Wear caseworker Gwen Rayner illustrate the typically complex range of interventions and liaisons necessary across various services and authorities which are often necessary to help seafarers access housing and care services, and benefits they are entitled to.

Case study 1

After conducting a house visit with one retired seafarer in poor health who was totally housebound, Gwen unravelled a range of mobility access issues that had collided to deny him his freedom. The issue had greatly affected his mental wellbeing and that of his wife. Now, however, he can safely use the mobility scooter to enter the building and use a wheelchair in lifts. An agreement was also reached to enable the safe housing of mobility equipment in a lockable area, and the local authority agreed to 'drop' the kerbs to allow access to pavements and roads safely when leaving the premises. The caseworker also arranged a care assessment for the couple, who advised that her intervention had been 'life changing'.

Case study 2

Another female client referred with deteriorating health was helped with a care and financial assessment. The caseworker was able to explain in depth how the complex system of assessments are conducted, the legal obligations and the client's rights, and support them throughout the process. Suitable care support and appropriate accommodation will now be offered as a result, and ongoing support is currently still in place from the caseworker.

Image: Gwen Rayner with First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas after receiving the Lord Lewin Award for outstanding service to the community from the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society in October 2023.

Planning your retirement?
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Nautilus Caseworker Service

Are you an ex seafarer?
Do you need help with welfare benefits or grants you may be entitled to? 
Have you got housing or debt concerns?

The Nautius Welfare Fund Caseworker service is here to help you. The charity supports retired mariners and their dependants, including former Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) personnel and Merchant Navy Veterans.

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