Liverpool Seafarers Centre offering a ‘lifeline’ to people from across the world

A partnership between the Catholic Apostleship of the Sea (Liverpool) and the Anglican Mersey Mission, the LSC has won a national award for its amazing work. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool Seafarers Centre
Liverpool Seafarers Centre CEO John Wilson


Liverpool has long been a destination for ships and sailors from across the globe and, with its roots dating back to the 19th century, the Liverpool Seafarers Centre LSC) has long provided a ‘lifeline’ to seafarers.

A partnership between the Catholic Apostleship of the Sea (Liverpool) and the Anglican Mersey Mission to Seafarers, the ecumenical charity offers a safe and secure place to rest and also receive practical and emotional support for those who find themselves very far away from home.

Now its fantastic work has been recognised on a national stage. At the London International Shipping Week earlier in September, LSC was crowned the world’s best seafarer centre.

The charity, based in Crosby and Eastham in Wirral, was singled out by the International Seafarer Welfare Awards due to the exceptional care it offers visiting seafarers and their families. LSC finished top ahead of seafarer centres in America in Houston and Philadelphia as well as Sydney Australia and Tauranga, New Zealand.

‘Home from home’

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, 50,000 of whom use the centre’s services in Liverpool and along the River Mersey 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.

LSC chief executive John Wilson collected the award during a ceremony at the Inmarsat Building on September 11 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.

Liverpool Seafarers Centre
Ronald Spithout, president of Inmarsat presents the award to Liverpool Seafarers Centre CEO John Wilson


Hard work

Mr Wilson said: “We have performed consistently in this category for a number of years so to be named the winner after 10 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.”

Mr Wilson said the award would now enable the charity to build on its success and help even more seafarers. He added: “Seafarers centres are a vital part of the maritime world supporting the men and women who supply 95% of all UK imports and exports.

“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.”

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