Chaplain gets keys for new Yarmouth seafarers centre
Port Chaplain, Rev Peter Paine, is handed the keys to the new Seafarers Centre in Great Yarmouth by port boss Bruce Coupland.
A project to create a safe haven for Great Yarmouth’s visiting boatmen has taken a huge leap forward with the handover of a quayside building. Establishing a new seafarers’ centre in the town has been a long-held dream for port chaplain, Rev Peter Paine, who was delighted to be handed the keys to the redundant building this week by bosses at EastPort
Work will now begin in earnest in designing the new centre, which Rev Paine hopes to have open by July
The South Quay building has been empty for a number of years and he will be working with building and construction students from Great Yarmouth College to refurbish it inside and out, to make it a welcoming space for the thousands of sailors who come into the town every year
Rev Paine said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. It will mean the services I provide will come under one roof and it will be a safe roof. And the Mission of Seafarers has agreed we can use their logo, which is internationally recognisable. Any seafarer who sees it knows exactly what it means; it’s a place of safety where they can get any help they need, where they can come in and rest or talk to a chaplain if they have got something on their mind. The sign means everything to us”
Until he was given his premises on dry land, Rev Paine was working out of the back of his car. And although he was able to provide services from an office in Artillery Square, he believes a dedicated centre will be able to offer more to workers coming ashore
To help with the refurbishment work he has called for fundraising pledges, which he is keen to collect so work can start as soon as possible
He added: “Everyone’s raring to go. I have had the students down here before they went on their Easter break and they did a lot of brainstorming and came up with a fair idea between them. I think they would like to get their hands on it, and time is limited for them before the end of term. And I don’t want it to drag on too long. If it does it loses momentum. I want people to see that the pledges they put in for it are being turned into something concrete”
Rev Paine has been given the building on a peppercorn rent and around 100 college students are expected to help get the centre up and running
The town has been without a base for visiting sailors for 10 years after the old Yarmouth International Seafarers’ Centre closed in 2004 after losing its national funding
Those wishing to donate to this worthy cause should please make cheques payable to Great Yarmouth Seafarers Centre and send to Rev Peter Paine, Port Chaplain, c/o First Move Furnishaid Ltd, Artillery Square, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2LR. Thank you in anticipation of your kind consideration of this appeal .
Article reproduced with permission from Great Yarmouth Mercury.