Aged Veterans Fund

A project to be delivered by Seafarers UK, Nautilus Welfare Fund and the Institute of Public Care to better define and understand the Merchant Navy Veterans’ community.

Seafarers UK has  been awarded a grant by the Aged Veterans Fund, initiated by the Chancellor using LIBOR money to carry out a research project to improve our understanding of the Merchant Navy Veterans community, and to evaluate two specialist services designed to support this specific group of seafarers. This project will be delivered by Seafarers UK and Nautilus Welfare Fund with the support of a wider group of organisations with an interest in understanding and meeting the needs of this group, and our academic research partner, the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University.

‘After several years of lobbying for proper recognition for Merchant Navy Veterans, Seafarers UK was pleased when the Veterans’ Minister agreed that they should be brought under the terms of the Armed Forces Covenant.  However, there is little point in recognition without action, and we are now delighted that we have been given the resources to research and support this community of unsung and forgotten heroes.  We hope that they will soon stand alongside their military brethren in the eyes of the public, and their deeds will remind the nation of the huge debt that we owe the Merchant Navy, yesterday and today’

– Commodore Barry Bryant, Seafarers UK

The project will deliver the following aims:

  • To better define and understand the size, location, health and social care needs of the Merchant Navy Veterans’ community and their spouses/partners.
  • To raise the public profile of UK Merchant Navy Veterans.
  • To establish and evaluate two approaches to providing specialist support:
  • The provision of four new homes for veteran merchant mariners at Mariners’ Park in Wallasey
  • The provision of a caseworker service in Hull, Merseyside, Southampton and Glasgow to support veteran mariners in their own homes
  • To establish a set of strategic priorities arising from this research to inform future service development.

Who is our target group of Merchant Navy Veterans?
We are interested in people born before 1st January 1950 who were members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Merchant Navy and served on a civilian vessel whilst it was supporting HM Armed Forces.  In addition, we are interested in their spouses, partners and dependants.  Despite the present age qualification, we also hope that information arising from this project will eventually assist all MN Veterans.

Who is involved in the project?
The project will be undertaken over a three year period, and will involve many different organisations and individuals in that time in different ways – its success will depend on this wide ranging involvement and we will be seeking advice and support in ensuring we reach as many Merchant Navy Veterans and organisations supporting them as possible.

How can you help?
We need you and your organisation to raise awareness of this project. You can play an important role in encouraging seafarers to identify as  Merchant Navy and RFA Veterans and to benefit from their Veterans status in terms of comradeship  and personal support.

If you have any questions, please do contact:

For the overall project:
Valerie Coleman
Programme Development Manager
Seafarers UK

Julia Whyard
Principal Consultant
Institute of Public Care
Oxford Brookes University

For the two MN Veterans’ Services Projects:
Mick Howarth
Welfare Services Manager
Nautilus Welfare Fund