A Year of Commemoration, Celebration and Business as Usual!

December 18, 2017

There can be little doubt that 2017 was our Centenary Year. Whether attending a special event, viewing our website, watching our Centenary animated film, engaging with our social media channels, reading our Flagship magazine, attending our Annual Meeting or engaging with us at Waterloo station, our Centenary imagery and messaging was clear for all to see.

2017 gave Seafarers UK the opportunity to engage with our supporters, beneficiaries, donors and partners using our Centenary Year theme of ‘Supporting seafarers; past, present and future’. Through this we were able to remind ourselves and others of the circumstances that brought about the charity’s foundation in 1917, remembering those who gave their lives to keep our society a free and democratic one. We also celebrated our past achievements and on-going role in helping the maritime charity sector to deliver the best frontline services possible to those in need, and in supporting those training for a sea-going career.

Please watch our 2-minute Centenary animation video, to learn more about the charity’s illustrious history, its aims and outputs, and the daily difficulties that seafarers still have to contend with today.

Five successful Centenary Dinners were held during the year in London, Bristol, Plymouth, Liverpool and Glasgow. Many other events also helped to raise our profile in 2017, such as being charity partner of Greenwich Tall Ships Festival and London International Shipping Week. Other events included the opening of the new Seafarers UK Centenary Wing in Mariners’ Park in Wallasey; our successful ‘Seafarers Awareness Week’ and ‘Fly The Red Ensign’ campaigns; fundraising events such as the London Marathon, 24 Peaks Challenge and Supporting Seafarers Day; our programme of Royal Marines Bands concerts including a special concert at Cadogan Hall with John Suchet, and our Festive Reception at HMS President.

The core of our Centenary fundraising over the last two years has supported three key projects with close to £500,000 being donated:

  • Our ‘Future’ Marine Engineering Pathway project is in partnership with Sea Cadets, where we have successfully funded the purchase and kitting-out of six new ‘Pods’. Four of these Pods (each including a vehicle, trailer and marine engineering equipment) are already visiting schools and Sea Cadet units across the UK with workshops enabling young people to get a better understanding of marine engineering and its career opportunities.
  • In support of the ‘Present’ then Seafarers UK has been and will continue to support ISWAN’s International Port Welfare Partnership project – enabling better coordination and provision of welfare facilities and services for serving seafarers in ports across the world.
  • Lastly, our ‘Past’ project was the building of the Seafarers UK Centenary Wing at Mariners’ Park in support of older and retired seafarers with Seafarers UK providing its largest ever grant of £1.3m towards the funding required for the 22 additional apartments in the new wing opened by HRH The Earl of Wessex in June.

We also invite you to take a look at the history that shaped our charity in our specially published Centenary Brochure and our Centenary Timeline.

Our primary task remains grant-making and in 2017 we awarded grants totaling £3.7m. At the end of our Centenary Year, it is now felt that we have the most comprehensive application, examination, awarding and impact-recording process in the sector. The charity feels confident that this, along with an on-going investment into talent and training (backed up by PQASSO accreditation), will provide the maritime charity sector with an excellent service for the future.

It only remains for Seafarers UK to say a huge Thank You to all those who have been involved with making our Centenary Year such a success, whether through donating, regular giving, fundraising, attending one of our special events, giving gifts in kind or just helping to spread the word. It’s been a fantastic year and we hope everyone who has been involved can now have a relaxing Christmas and New Year, but at the same time not forgetting those who are working at sea and away from their loved ones over the festive period, or simply struggling to cope. Seafarers UK will continue to be there for them.

Please see list of events planned by Seafarers UK for next year and how you can get involved in helping us to support seafarers in need in the future.