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Sailors’ Society opens new Seafarers’ Centre

CentreOpening

International maritime charity Sailors’ Society, which is supported by WesCom Signal and Rescue, has opened a new centre for seafarers.

The Southampton Seafarers’ Centre at 108 East Street, has been opened by the mayor, Councillor Les Harris.

The centre offers seafarers in the city’s port support services and free Wi-Fi. The port handles around 14 million tonnes of cargo each year.

Councillor Les Harris says, “Southampton is the gateway to the world and I’m sure that this centre will welcome seafarers from all over the globe.

“It is a first-class facility and I think anybody would be pleased to come, kick off their shoes and take a rest and respite from work on board a ship.”

The Sailors’ Society’s head office is in Woolston in the city and CEO Stuart Rivers feels it is important that the charity is able to support seafarers in Southampton.

“Seafarers can be at sea for months with limited or no connectivity, which can lead to isolation and loneliness. The new centre gives them the chance to unwind and get in touch with loved ones,” he said.

Last year, a seafarers’ centre at Queen’s Terrace, Southampton, closed after 132 years due to lack of use.

Sailors’ Society has taken account of the changing habits of seafarers arriving in the city and put the new centre in a busy, central location.

“It’s really important that we give seafarers what they want and offer them bespoke services, depending on the location and need.

“Seafarers are generally drawn to places where a number of facilities are available and the new Southampton centre is in a great location, which is able to offer this variety.”

The centre’s development will also include the Society’s first Southampton-based charity shop, which is due to open soon.

Director of Development, Adam Stacey, says, “We all rely upon the world’s 1.6 million seafarers to transport 90 per cent of the goods we use on a daily basis.

“The new shop will offer a chance to thank them for the sacrifices they make and we’re really hopeful that the generous people of Southampton will support a local charity through purchases and donations.”

Founded in 1818, Sailors’ Society is approaching 200 years of caring for seafarers and their families. It is an adopted charity of WesCom Signal and Rescue and Head of Global Marketing, Chris Feibusch, is a Sailors’ Society ambassador.

Last year, the charity’s chaplains and ship visitors helped more than 400,000 seafarers, providing Wi-Fi hotspots, transportation and other support.

The charity also provides welfare grants to alleviate hardship and distress, nautical educational grants to further their qualifications and a scholarship programme for four UK students each year.

The image shows Jonathan Holloway Sailors’ Society trustee, Peter Goldberg Sailors’ Society trustee, Dr Peter Swift Vice Chairman Sailors’ Society, Stuart Rivers CEO Sailors’ Society, the Mayor of Southampton Councillor Les Harris, Bob Jones Chairman Merchant Navy Welfare Board and Sandra Welch Deputy CEO and director of programme Sailors’ Society launch the new Southampton Seafarers' Centre

Oct 19, 2017