Charity offering Wirral homes for ex-seafarers

Story by Tony McDonough – Liverpool Business News

Seafarers’ charity Nautilus Welfare Fund says homes are available close to Wirral Waterfront for former seafarers or people who have worked in the maritime industry.

Mariner’s Park in Wallasey is a retirement community for seafarers or those who can demonstrate a “significant” career in the maritime industry. It comprises 123 properties – and 13 of them are still empty.

Now the charity, which is administered by seafarers’ union Nautilus International, is putting the word out that a number of homes are available for occupation.

Andrew Jones, director of welfare and care at the Nautilus Welfare Fund, said the charity had established a vibrant community in a beautiful location close to the River Mersey looking across to Liverpool waterfront.

Merseyside is steeped in maritime history. In the 19th century Liverpool was one of the most important ports in the world. Today, the Port of Liverpool is enjoying something of a renaissance with £500m investment into the Liverpool2 container terminal.

Despite tough times in the 20th century the local maritime sector has remained a major employer. Today, the sector is worth more than £5bn a year in the Liverpool city region and employs almost 50,000 people.

“If there aren’t people out there with maritime experience that are struggling for housing or want to be part of this community, I’d be very surprised,” said Andrew. “We want to get the word out and tell people ‘here we are’

“We are a charity, almost 170 years old, and we look after retired or needy seafarers from anywhere across the UK. Mariner’s Park is the residential part of the charity.

“We have independent living properties, supported living properties and a care home offering care for those with dementia or needing palliative care. So we want people to come to the park when they are still healthy, fit and well so they can enjoy it.

“There are 122 properties on the estate and currently 13 of them are empty. We are also in the process of building a new building with 27 two-bed apartments. That is a £10m investment.

“We are appealing to people who meet the criteria to come and find out more about this wonderful community.”

Nautilus Welfare Fund also considers applications from widowed applicants whose spouse was at sea.

Residents at the development enjoy regular social events and can access a home care service to help with shopping, cleaning and other needs.

All accommodation comes fitted with a community alarm system, and emergency support is available 24 hours a day. Facilities also include communal social areas, a laundry, a hairdresser’s salon, a gym and a games room.

The Nautilus Welfare Fund was established by the Mercantile Marine Service Association (MMSA), a predecessor of Nautilus International.

In 1857 the council of the MMSA was concerned about the difficulties seafarers were facing when they came ashore, and decided to provide residential facilities and financial support for aged, single and married seafarers, their dependants, and seafarers’ widows

They raised funds to provide for a care home and family properties on the banks of the River Mersey in Wallasey, and the Welfare Fund and Mariners’ Park were born.

Click here for more information about the development.

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