Digital Yacht Foundation and The Seafarers’ Charity: the meeting

The Digital Yacht Foundation today invited The Seafarers’ Charity to tell us more about their cause.

Doing more for seafarers. And doing it even better

At The Seafarers’ Charity (formerly Seafarers UK), our vision is to create ‘a world where seafarers and their families are valued and free of need and disadvantage’. We’ve been improving their lives since 1917, when we launched as the King George’s Fund for Sailors. Conceived by far-sighted ship owners and officers, and championed by King George V, the KGFS is a key strand of our DNA and something of which we’re very proud. Today, The Seafarers’ Charity is an evolving, forward-looking charity – building on past successes but expanding our capabilities to make a genuine difference.

Putting funding where it matters

Our grant giving to maritime charities brings truly life-changing impact for many who work – or have worked – at sea, and their families. We reduce hardships experienced by seafarers by enabling environments where, instead, they can thrive, supporting their practical and welfare needs at home, in port and at sea, often far from home. We also enable them to connect with loved ones – and to find comfort and companionship in retirement.

But, for us, such interventions are not enough – however valuable. That’s why we’re also now increasingly proactive in understanding and tackling the root causes of seafarer disadvantage in the UK and internationally. We’re moving towards identifying and targeting the systemic problems that lead to adversity in the first place. It’s a ‘theory of change’ approach that will reduce future welfare need.

We’re aiming to get to the heart of issues earlier to achieve longer-term success through outcomes-focused funding collaboration, research, and advocacy – which in turn will amplify the impact of our grant awards.

Tailoring activities around strategy

While we’ll continue to provide support for many of our existing delivery partners who provide vital frontline services, we’ll also be working in new ways. These will be based on how we use and allocate resources to achieve five key strategic outcomes that enable seafarers to thrive:

  • Enhanced financial resilience
    Help for seafarers and their families at work and in retirement – through confidential and independent advice and information – will support their financial resilience and build independence.
  • Better working lives at sea
    Working life quality will improve by offering seafarers access to virtual and port-based welfare services through an international chain of seafarer centres, port welfare committees, and ship visitors.
  • Improved health and wellbeing
    Services that support mental and physical health – both on board and on shore including care homes, accommodation, and relationship counselling – will also tackle loneliness and support wellbeing.
  • Raised safety standards and practices
    Better health and safety practices, reduced risk and an enhanced safety culture will mean more seafarers returning safely from seagoing voyages.
  • Increased social justice
    Improved access to welfare services and programmes will help build respect for diversity and cultural differences, reduce the fear of bullying or harassment, and support human rights.

Above all, as we chart the next stage of our development, The Seafarer’s Charity will remain true to our highly respected heritage – but also be better placed to address causes of seafarer disadvantage, now and long into the future.


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