Despite many of our volunteers being at home these last 18 months this Prestige Award celebrates all things we do and have done as a charity in support of Seafarers visiting our Scottish ports.
Within the Mission to Seafarers Scotland our goal is the same it was when it all began in the 1830’s and that is to care for the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of all seafarers and their families.
Many of today’s seafarers are likely to come from the Philippines, the Ukraine and Myanmar. They sign up for contracts that will take them far from their homes and families, often spending many months at sea with only a few hours in port – such is the quick turn-around these days. The internet makes contact with home so much easier (if they can access it) – but that can bring its own stresses. The internet means a sailor must not only cope with his or her own loneliness, but can listen daily, and helplessly, to the struggles of their family back home. You can’t just get off a ship in the middle of the North Sea and pop home to sort out the sick puppy or take a child to the dentist. Nor can you be there on Saturday for the netball or football game, watching your child grow and flourish.
Seafarers are isolated from their families and the rest of society spending many months at sea. The same seafarers who bring us 90% of what we have. Our response is a ministry of ‘presence’ and ‘hospitality’ done by visiting seafarers on their ship, listening, and letting them know we care, by providing centres, a ‘home away from home,’ where they can go and relax, speak with family, watch TV, play pool, send money home, buy a snack or two or enjoy a tea, coffee or hot chocolate. We provide transportation to take them to the centre or to the supermarket. We also do shopping and deliver to their ships when they arrive in port. We also advocate for seafarers keeping a watchful eye on conditions on board and helping them know their rights.
We could not have achieved this Prestige Award without the work of everybody for Trustees and Chaplain to volunteers and knitters.