West of England P&I established charity programme

West of England P&I Club, an insurance provider to the global maritime industry, has established a long-term charity programme to mark its 150th anniversary year. The club has made initial commitments to Sailors’ Society, Blue Marine Foundation, and the National Oceanography Centre, and will be continuing to support Symplefsi and Feeding Hong Kong.

The company says it’s making significant financial contributions that will support the charities’ activities and programmes for 10 years. These causes include the mental wellbeing of seafarers, environmental protection and education.

West’s 150th anniversary charity programme will initially support Sailors’ Society’s ‘Wellness at Sea’ coaching programme, Blue Marine Foundation’s project to develop a management plan for the Namibian Islands Marine Protected Area, and the establishment of the Seagoing Science Bursary at the National Oceanography Centre, alongside two local projects.

Sailors’ Society’s ‘Wellness at Sea’ coaching programme empowers seafarers to focus on their own wellbeing, helping them protect themselves and their fellow crewmates against depression and mental illness. The West of England P&I Club will be helping the Society to produce an introductory video focusing on the importance to owners, managers and operators of crew mental welfare and the all-round benefits of the ‘Wellness at Sea’ programme.

Conservation charity Blue Marine Foundation has partnered with the Namibia Nature Foundation to protect Namibia’s waters and its magnificent marine life. The Namibian Islands’ Marine Protected Area (NIMPA) is the largest marine protected area in Southern Africa covering an area of 10,000 square kilometres, but without a functional management the marine protected area is redundant. West’s support will help Blue Marine Foundation to ensure the NIMPA is managed effectively and benefits people, nature and the economies that depend on it.

As part of West’s commitment to marine education, the club will establish a Seagoing Science Bursary in collaboration with National Oceanography Centre. The bursary has been designed to enable international students and early career scientists, with an emphasis on those from developing countries, to gain practical experience of ship borne science. Recipients will be empowered to join seagoing expeditions on the centre’s two world-class research vessels, the RRS James Cook and RRS Discovery, as well as other vessels involved in its research projects.

Alongside these new charitable commitments, the company will increase its support to Symplefsi in Greece, who provides access to doctors to the inhabitants of remote Greek islands, and Feeding Hong Kong, who provides meals to vulnerable residents in the region. Both charities are currently supported by West’s local offices in the countries, and support will increase during this period.

“Some of those causes have been highlighted in recent months by the strain that current restrictions have put on the mental health and wellbeing of seafarers, as well as access to doctors and food security in many regions. By announcing these commitments now, we hope to have the maximum possible positive impact,” says Tom Bowsher, West Group CEO.

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