Cruise Liverpool in the news…Liverpool Seafarers Centre named the world’s best at international awards ceremony
Ecumenical charity Liverpool Seafarers Centre has been crowned the world’s best seafarers centre in an international awards ceremony.
The charity, based in Crosby, was singled out by the International Seafarer Welfare Awards due to the exceptional care it offers visiting seafarers and their families.
Feedback from judges and those who use the centre described it as a “home from home” staffed by the friendliest volunteers who go above and beyond and expect nothing in return.
The Seafarer Centre of the Year is voted for by seafarers, thousands of whom use the centre’s services in Liverpool every year. This includes providing emotional support, including offering a clinical psychologist, for those where life has become too difficult to handle in normal talks. It also offers practical assistance such as access to WIFI, money exchange and a physical base on land for crew members whose vessels have docked in the city.
Chief executive John Wilson collected the award during a ceremony on September 11 in London attended by representatives of seafarer centres from around the world. The charity has been shortlisted for the award on previous occasions but never been named the winner, which comes during the year of its tenth anniversary.
Mr Wilson said: “Liverpool Seafarers Centre is delighted to collect the award of Seafarer Centre of the Year, made all the more special as it is voted by seafarers themselves. We have performed consistently in this category for a number of years so to be named the winner after ten years of services to the Liverpool area is a fitting achievement and a testament to the hard work of all our volunteers.
“It is their caring approach, the support they offer more than 50,000 seafarers every year and the calibre of our facilities that have assisted in our success so far. Our volunteers always go the extra mile to ensure seafarers who need our support are given the proper care and follow-up action, including liaising with seafarer centres in other ports, should they require it.”
The nominations from seafarers noted the centre’s early opening and late finish and their “fantastic and friendly” staff who always extend a warm welcome. One seafarer said: “We really need seafarers centres like Liverpool Seafarers Centre all around the world.”
Mr Wilson said the award would now enable the centre to build on its success.
He said: “Seafarers centres are a vital part of the maritime world and this accolade proves that Liverpool Seafarers Centre is no exception to this. We now intend to grow our network across the North West, building on our Crosby site and the centre we opened in 2017 at Queen Elizabeth II Dock, Eastham, which works in partnership with our headquarters. We are also opening a centre at Garston to enable us to offer our practical, emotional and spiritual services to an extra 10-20 per cent of seafarers every year.”
Liverpool Seafarers Centre is a partnership between the Catholic Apostleship of the Sea (Liverpool) and the Anglican Mersey Mission to Seafarers. Its history dates back to the 19th century. The charity provides ‘a lifeline’ to seafarers both active and retired. It offers a safe and secure place to rest and receive practical and emotional support through its bases in Liverpool Cruise Terminal, Crosby and Eastham. It garners the support of many cross denominational faiths and organisations.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, said: “This is great news for the Liverpool Seafarers Centre and for the city. As a former member of the merchant navy myself I know facilities like these make all the difference for sailors who can be at sea for a long time. They provide essential support and that connection with home and family that makes the weeks of isolation aboard ship all the more tolerable. Liverpool has a proud history of giving a warm welcome to all seafarers and it is fantastic to see the centre not only continuing that tradition but leading the world.”
Head of Liverpool Cruise Operations, Peter Murney, added: “Whenever we welcome a cruise liner into Liverpool much of the attention is focused on the passengers who come to enjoy our city. However, the crew members are the unsung heroes who work with the utmost professionalism to ensure their passengers arrive safely and have a great time.
“The Seafarers Centre provides these men and women with a warm welcome and all the support they need during their stay in Liverpool. The feedback we have received from crew members about the work of the centre has always been full of praise and clearly this accolade is well-deserved. The award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved with the centre. On behalf of everyone at Cruise Liverpool I would like to congratulate them.”