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Mariners centre appeals for help to open longer 

PC PLUG 2016Liz Coates
Senior Reporter, Eastern Daily Press and Great Yarmouth Mercury

As Great Yarmouth’s Seafarers’ Centre prepares for its first anniversary, an appeal has been launched for more volunteers to help it to open for longer. Around 12 volunteers give their time to help mariners who arrive in the port often after long periods at sea wanting help to connect with their families or just some time away from their floating workplace. Sometimes all that is needed is a listening or but there can be problems that cannot be sorted out on ship. Rev Peter Paine said that the centre was only able to open from 6-8pm most days - although the door was always open when he was there. But with more people seeking out their services he wanted to expand the opening hours. Two people were on site at all times

Meanwhile funding is also an issue with annual running costs of around £2500. A 50/50 club where members pay £5 a month for a line - the jackpot being split between the winner and the centre - was growing every month since it was set up in August Mr Paine said. Ideally, however, the team was looking to recruit a volunteer fundraiser who would hopefully be able to source and unlock pockets of funding they were not aware of and be able to prepare bids, he said

The seafarers centre opened to much applause last April offering a haven for sailors after a break of around nine years, boosting the welfare prospects of thousands of mariners. The advice centre and social hub was set up in a redundant stevedores’ building donated by EastPort three years ago. Since then the interior has been remodelled to form an office and social space for seafarers seeking a change of scene, some different company, and someone to share their problems with.  The £4,000 refurbishment was paid for by donations from churches as well as Vroon Offshore Services

Volunteers will need to have “a listening ear”, not be someone who talks all the time, who can work in two-hour shifts. Mr Paine said talks were still ongoing with his employers over his future after it was revealed that the Mission to Seafarers said it was pulling the plug on its funding putting the role of Port Chaplain at risk

¦ To find out more contact Rev Paine on 07510 896271
APPEAL: More volunteers are needed to help mariners at Great Yarmouth’s Seafarers’ Centre as it prepares for its first birthday, says Port Chaplain Rev Peter Paine

reproduced from the Yarmouth Mercury and used with permission