|Find The Sea Families|
Find the Sea Families is a new campaign aiming to find sailors’ families who have hit hard times. Chief Officer, Deanne Thomas of Sailor’s Children’s Society, one of four charities involved, visited Birmingham and Sandwell to launch the search for seafarers or ex-seafarers, who may qualify for financial help. The search is also focussed in Liverpool, Glasgow and Dover, though any seafaring parent may apply if they feel they qualify for support, regardless of their location.
The campaign is funded by Trinity House, which has been looking after seafarers’ interests for 500 years, in partnership with four charities: Royal Liverpool Seamen’s Orphan Institution, Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children’s Fund, Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation and the Sailors’ Children’s Society. Each offers different support but, typically, help will be available for buying home computers, tuition fees, school uniforms and caravan holidays, alongside ongoing financial grants. This lasts until the family is again self-sufficient or the children have left full-time education, including university or college.
With many inland waterways and canals connecting Birmingham and Sandwell to the sea, numerous people from the area will have had maritime careers, serving in the Royal Navy, the UK fishing fleets, and the Merchant Navy, whether on ferries, tankers, general cargo and cruise ships, pilot boats and tugs, and many may qualify for help.
Birmingham’s inland waterways are rarely empty, with boats being used for canal tours, party hire and much more. Workers on any of these vessels may also be entitled to help through the scheme.
As we discovered talking to Dave Mumford, a Birmingham Canal Maintenance worker, people were often not aware that help was available, or did not think they would qualify. Though each family is different, it is important that they get in touch and find out if they are entitled to help.
That is why we encourage any family who feels they may qualify for our support to contact the Find the Sea Families campaign on 0800 0556558, via Twitter @findtheseafam and Facebook findtheseafamilies, regardless of where they may currently be living.