Silence is golden, but in the case of the MCG blog, also guilty of not passing on all the initiatives the group has in train. So belatedly I will now seek to rectify this.
Covid appears to be like the jack in the box as you think it might be about to be brought under control, so it morphs and reappears. Who knows what the latest variant will bring but let us hope that combatting it becomes more routine and above all more successful.
One of the many consequences of the pandemic has been the development of the MCG’s Redundancy and Retraining Bursary set up to help those who have lost their job through the pandemic. Originally seen as running for a few months this bursary is still helping those in need. In all, 75 seafarers have been helped to date and with uncertainty continuing in some areas of maritime, the funders, Trinity House, Merchant Navy Welfare Board, and the Nautilus Slater Fund, have agreed to extend the bursary until the end of March 2022.
Another recent success for the MCG has been its new monthly on line seminars. The subjects for discussion have varied from how to recruit trustees, to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and also the latest changes in charity law. We have been fortunate to receive assistance from a variety of organisations in sourcing some excellent speakers including Getting On Board and Stone King LLP. The next seminar will be advertised on the MCG website in due course.
Over the last 3 months the MCG has worked with Nottingham Trent University (NTU), assisted by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) to run a survey amongst the 140 or so maritime charities. Results have been interesting and are currently being analysed by NTU. More in the next blog!
Looking ahead, the MCG is seeking to revise its report on the Demographics of the UK maritime community, last undertaken in 2015, to understand whether the pandemic has had any significant impact and to help the charities plan for what lies ahead. At the heart of much of the maritime benevolence charities’ work lies the vital assistance of case workers, so often working through SSAFA, RBL, Fishermen’s Mission, Nautilus Welfare Fund, and others. The matrix of support available is complex and varies geographically. To help the maritime charities understand what is available and where there are gaps, the MCG is planning a mapping exercise of caseworking availability, which should help identify what if any gaps there are and how they might be filled.
The end of the year is often a time of change and 2021 is no exception. Peter Tomlin has been a proactive and successful Chief Executive of the MNWB bringing forward a number of new and beneficial initiatives. He has also been a stalwart supporter of the MCG and co-operation within the maritime charities, and a strong advocate of the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Peter we will miss you but wish you well for your retirement and may it bring all those things you have been looking forward to but never had the time for. Peter is to be succeeded by Stuart Rivers and we look forward to welcoming him to future meetings and continuing to put beneficiaries at the heart of all our work.
Wishing you all a peaceful Xmas and a better year ahead.
Commander Graham Hockley LVO RN