Flying Angel campaign gets boost from two supporters

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Platinum sponsors of the Mission to Seafarer’s Flying Angel Campaign, Seafarers UK and the Grimaldi Foundation, have generously donated a combined £174,000 in response to the severe welfare issues facing seafarers worldwide, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mission to Seafarers have, so far, raised over £450,000 of its £600,000 target which will deliver a range of significant benefits to seafarers, many of whom are either on vastly extended contracts, or unable to reach their ships. Seafarers UK, which has recently released £2m from its reserves to assist COVID-19 related activities, has generously donated a total of £114,000.

This includes £38,000 towards the Digital Chaplaincy platform, ensuring seafarers have access to help 24/7 as well as supporting the adaptation to Seafarers Centres with a £40,000 donation to ensure seafarers are able to utilise port facilities as lockdown eases. In addition, a further £36,000 has helped feed unemployed seafarers and their families in Tuticorin, India. The Grimaldi Foundation has also generously donated £60,000 to the Flying Angel Campaign general fund to be used where it is most needed.

Raising funds through the Flying Angel Campaign is a top priority for the Mission, as crews continue to suffer fatigue and anxiety from extended contracts. There are growing concerns over the impact on their mental health and wellbeing which will become increasingly evident in the coming months. In response, the Mission is focusing on improving connectivity to reduce isolation, both onboard and on shore, protecting port teams with PPE and re-equipping the 121 Flying Angel Centres. The Mission is also providing Mi-Fi units to ships in ports to ensure seafarers can contact loved ones and have access to digital chaplaincy services. The significant donations from these organisations, along with other companies yet to be announced, will assist in accelerating the progress with this campaign and making a real difference to those on the front line.

Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive for Seafarers UK, said, “Seafarers UK has proudly supported the international work of The Mission to Seafarers for many years and we’re pleased to continue this support. The Mission continually innovates and responds to the needs of international seafarers struggling amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Our grant funding of £114,000 encompasses a wide range of Mission to Seafarers support for seafarers – from the new digital chaplaincy service to providing food to seafaring families in India and creating COVID-secure seafarer centres for future use. Seafarers are at the heart of everything the Mission does, and they listen to those they support, using that knowledge to deliver meaningful support. Seafarers UK trusts our delivery partners with grants for core costs, learning from their expertise and judgement to jointly develop services which meet the needs of seafarers.”

Luca Marciani, Director for Grimaldi Foundation, added, “Since its inception, the Grimaldi Foundation took a stand for maritime sector workers and their families, knowing how difficult life can be out at sea. We spent around €1.3m for over 50 projects in this field, and today we are pleased to be able to provide support to The Mission to Seafarers campaign for seafarer relief, in this challenging era for these international maritime workers worldwide.”

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General for The Mission to Seafarers commented, “We are extremely grateful that our endeavours to assist seafarers during this pandemic are being supported by these key donations. Seafarers UK and the Grimaldi Foundation are just two of the organisations committing funds where it is most needed. This generosity has been echoed throughout the industry and makes a meaningful difference to the essential work we provide.

“The need to support seafarers has escalated dramatically since March and the generous contributions from these two foundations in particular will mean we can respond quickly to this escalating need. Our Flying Angel Campaign ensures our international key workers have support, guidance and connectivity during an extremely isolating and challenging time. We have huge appreciation for the work that our seafarers do and accelerating our offering to them is essential to keeping seafarers safe. Now is a critical time and it is with thanks to donors such as Seafarers UK and the Grimaldi Foundation that we can move rapidly to provide the support that the world’s seafarers desperately need.”

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