Cost-of-living ‘safety net’ set up for UK seafarers

Two leading maritime charities have responded to the cost-of-living crisis with new resources to support UK seafarers.

The Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) and The Seafarers’ Charity (TSC) joined forces to launch The Safety Net for all UK merchant seafarers at the MNWB’s Port Welfare Conference, which took place in mid-May.

The new Safety Net website is full of free money management tools and resources specifically to help UK merchant seafarers to manage their money during the current cost of living crisis and in the future.

The Safety Net is billed as a ‘vital one-stop-shop’ providing bespoke information and support for all UK seafarers and their families on personal savings, money management, credit choices, debt advice, and relationship and mental health support.

“The industry has been crying out for an initiative like this, so we are delighted to see this come to fruition after months of planning with The Seafarers’ Charity,” says Stuart Rivers, Chief Executive of the MNWB, which is the umbrella charity for Merchant Navy and fishing fleets.

“This much-needed service that supports the Merchant Navy comes following a taxing couple of years for UK seafarers, who face a specific set of financial challenges. The tools and resources available on this unique platform will certainly help to enhance the financial resilience of the UK’s seafarer communities by providing useful sources of help, advice and information relating to money management.”

The launch of The Safety Net website will be followed up on 22 June with a free webinar on money management, delivered by The Money Charity. The webinar will include information about the value of establishing long-term savings and budgeting plans, and guidance on how to signpost towards free tools that aid financial planning and money management.

The webinar is aimed at key individuals with a personal or professional connection to the merchant navy such as caseworkers, support workers, volunteers and others who support UK merchant seafarers. They will receive information and training to enable them to become financial ‘buddies’ or ‘champions’, capable of sharing accurate, up-to-date information regarding saving options, budgeting, credit choices, taxation and sources of free support to help with financial problems.

“We understand that information is often best received when it comes from peers within trusted local, social and community networks,” says Catherine Spencer, CEO of TSC. “That’s why we’re boosting the financial knowledge of those close to the merchant navy, so seafarers have someone to turn to for reliable support. A hardship grant for an immediate crisis is only one part of the solution. Longer-term change is needed. This training represents a vital step towards our ambition of supporting merchant navy personnel and their families to become more financially resilient.”

This website and webinar are an extension of The Safety Net for fishing families which TSC launched in September 2021. Now, in partnership with the MNWB, The Safety Net has been adapted, and extended to, support UK merchant seafarers.

The free webinar will take place on 22 June from 10.30am to 12pm and is open to anyone identifying as close to, or supporting UK merchant seafarers, and interested in becoming a financial ‘champion’. Interested UK seafarers are also welcome.

Booking for The Safety Net for UK seafarers webinar is now open.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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