Appeal for volunteers as opening date set for new seafarers centre in Great Yarmouth
Rev Peter Paine is appealing for volunteers to lend a listening ear to seafarers
After a break of nine years Great Yarmouth’s Seafarers’ Centre is set to re-open in a new riverside spot boosting the welfare prospects of thousands of mariners from across the globe. It means port chaplain Rev Peter Paine can get on with his ministry from a designated quayside office, with volunteers lending a listening ear to those who need it
But more hands on deck are needed if the caring venture is to be a success
So far around five people have signed up and Mr Paine has issued an urgent rallying call for more people to come forward and ensure the advice centre and social hub can open as planned on April 15
He said: “I have always wanted a new building since the other one closed. People have told me there is no need and I have pig-headedly said that ‘yes, there is and I am going to show you how.’
“I am absolutely delighted that we have come to this day. Once it gets itself bedded in it will make a big difference to the seafarers that come to Yarmouth and use the facilities”
The building on South Quay, a redundant stevedores’ rest room, was donated by East Port two years ago.
Since then the interior has been remodelled to form an office and social space for seafarers seeking a change of scene from their floating work-places, some different company, and someone to share their problems with
The £4000 refurbishment has been paid for by donations mostly from churches as well as Vroon Offshore Services. The crew of Seajacks Kraken have also been helping.
Transport will be provided for people on the other side of the river who want to use the centre - which will potentially cater for the welfare needs of 150,000 sailors and crew who pass through the port every year
Volunteers will need to have 'a listening ear', not be someone who talks all the time, who can work in two hour shifts
Initially the centre will open from 6pm to 10pm although the door will always be open when Mr Paine, 63, is in his office
“Without volunteers it cannot stay open,” he added. “I need two people there at all times and ultimately aim to open from 10am to 10pm seven days a week and to do that we need a bank of 25 to 30 volunteers to keep it going"
The project is run as a limited company but will bid for charitable status once it is up and running and capital is no longer being ploughed into the building.
Full training will be given to volunteers
Anyone interested in learning more can contact Mr Paine on 01493 850270, 07788 111823 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
publsihed in the Yarmouth Mercury by Archant and used with permission
picture by James Bass