It became apparent once again that the members of the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) benefit from our Association when individual members share expertise and publicly support one another’s goals.
Commodore David Dickens (The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishers), Alexander Campbell (Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest) and Reverend Hennie la Grange (outgoing general secretary of ICMA) met at the QVSR in East London on Friday.
From the meeting it was clear that funding was increasingly difficult to find. While funders have changed their funding priorities and have developed application procedures to ensure diligent grant giving, it has become tougher to get money for crucial services and emergency response. It was floated that, perhaps, the changing needs of the welfare sector have not been recognised or understood by our traditional supporters.
While funders were reluctant to support hostel-style accommodation in London, the QVSR boasted 99% occupation levels each year. QVSR’s longer term residents from maritime backgrounds tended to resist being re-housed in council-supported private accommodation, as they needed the maritime feel of the Rest and its sense of community. Years at sea have severed their links to onshore community life, and that is what the Seamen’s Rest is able to provide.
Similarly the Fisherman’s Mission has deepening concern for foreign seafarers working in fishing. Recent incidents of foreign sailors incarcerated for being in the UK illegally, abandoned here due to failed contracts (a recent case highlighted by AOS GB), and of families abroad left destitute after loss of a fisher’s life, strengthens the Fishers Mission’s resolve to use the ICMA network internationally to reach these families, and to roll out assistance to international seafarers.
The leaders of RNMDSF and QVSR came away from the meeting committed to helping one another in matters of faith and resolved to collaborate on matters ofmutual interest.