The Fishermen's Mission

The Fishermen's Mission maintains a Christian presence in United Kingdom's fishing communities, in order to provide, practical, welfare and spiritual support to active and retired fishermen and their families, regardless of race or creed. In particular it provides a 24/7 emergency service in event of accidents to fishermen.

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Total raised so far

£9,002

Gift Aid + est. £1367.75


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205

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About the Fishermen's Mission

Established in 1881, The Fishermen’s Mission is the only UK based charity serving active and retired fishermen and their families. With over 30 mini centres and through our network of staff and volunteers in over 80 ports and harbours, we deliver a social welfare Outreach Programme throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

From an underpinning of Christian values, we also provide Emergency Response every day of the year which involves delivering practical assistance to families of fishermen who have been killed, injured or lost at sea. We liaise with the teams who rescue fishermen in peril, helping them find accommodation, food, and clothing and putting them in touch with their families. 

In 2021 alone we responded to 80 emergencies and facilitated financial assistance for over 4,600 beneficiaries which was key in preventing deprivation and homelessness. Along with a number of partners including The Merchant Navy Welfare Board and Seafarers UK, we are also actively involved in key issues such as working conditions in the fishing industry, national safety initiatives and improving health outcomes for the UK’s fishing communities.

 FACTS

  • Fishermen are 115 times more likely to suffer a fatal accident than the rest of the UK workforce 
  • Every year an average of 15 fishermen are killed or seriously injured  
  • Fishermen are recognized by public health services as an ‘at risk’ group who are less likely to access healthcare and have potentially poor health outcomes

Real Stories – Pete Dadds 

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Pete is 46 and lives near Mudeford Quay in Dorset with his wife and daughter.

His father was a local boatbuilder so it seemed a natural progression to take up commercial fishing. He did a YTS training placement with a fisherman friend of his father’s and after a few years, bought a 20 foot vessel of his own which he named ‘Spartacus’. 

Regularly doing 16 hour days, today Pete fishes for lobster, crabs, cuttlefish and bass and has also been a RNLI volunteer for nearly 30 years, part of the lifeboat crew for Mudeford which conducts around 60 rescues a year.

Last year, while fishing with the help of a friend, an accident at sea left Pete with a serious head wound and his boat needing over £30,000 worth of repairs, outstripping its insurance value. Unable to work to support his family, and trying to cope with the psychological trauma of the accident, the family were soon struggling to pay for ultilities and food. Pete was also worried about falling behind with the rent which could lead to homelessness. The stress of their situation soon began to affect Pete and his wife’s mental health. 

Our Mission Area Officer for our South Coast Outreach Programme, soon learned of Pete’s accident and offered his support. Pete was only too glad to accept and within days, he had facilitated a grant to cover the family’s rent arrears and had provided supermarket food vouchers. He was also there offering emotional and pastoral support to the whole family as Pete slowly recovered.

Today Pete is working again and selling his catch to local wholesalers. Life has stabilised, giving him time to enjoy spending time with his family again. He told us of his high regard for the Fishermen’s Mission:

“The Fishermen’s Mission helped me get back to sea after my accident – there were days when I didn’t think I could go back. Nick is an amazing bloke and knowing that I can still call on him at any time is so reassuring. You can’t put a monetary value on that.” 

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Photograph credit G.Lee & J. Periam

Paul's Story

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Paul’s story is a fantastic example of how our Outreach Programme can help entire families cope with a crisis and learn to live with the life changing consequences. Fishing 50 miles offshore, Paul threw a rope over to his partner boat, when the rope snagged around his leg and jerked him upwards. Hanging upside down, the rope then tightened and snapped his right leg.  Quick thinking by fellow deckhand, Charlie, saved Paul’s life as he untangled him and applied a makeshift tourniquet while waiting for the rescue helicopter. Surgeons tried valiantly to save Paul’s leg but the damage was so extensive there was no option but to amputate above the knee.

The devastating injury left Paul in a wheelchair for months in hospital as he battled back to health, trying to adapt to his new, unexpected life as an amputee. Not only were there the psychological repercussions of the accident, but the financial ones too. With Paul unable to work as the main breadwinner, the family was left struggling to pay rent and bills. Our local Outreach Manager provided practical and emotional support to Paul and his family all the way from the immediate horror of the accident and the anxiety of emergency surgery, through to the long months of recovery and adaptation to life with a disability. He also helped Paul navigate through social services regarding future disability allowance, signposting to counselling services, household budgeting and supported the family through adaptations in Paul’s home to maximise his independence. Paul told us: “This is one of the worst things that could have possibly happened to me. My whole family have suffered. I don’t know what me and my family would have done without the Fishermen’s Mission.” 

 Real Stories – Mark Grey 

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Mark is 31 and lives in Portsmouth with his partner Laura and two children.

He’s been a fisherman for 8 years, working for a local company on a self-employed basis dredging for mussels and clams and has also picked up considerable experience scalloping, trawling and long lining for bass. 

From 2011 to 2015 he was also a RNLI volunteer, part of the lifeboat crew, and has seen his share of drama and danger at sea.

Mark doesn’t own his own boat, and like many self-employed people, sometimes struggles with an erratic income. However, his first contact with the Fishermen’s Mission came about when he started looking for help for a young deckhand he worked with who was experiencing mental health issues and was on the verge of being evicted from his home.

Not long afterwards, Mark and his partner Laura started to experience financial hardship. Increased regulation of local fishing grounds and restrictions on catch species left Mark struggling to generate an income. Each time he started to make progress there would be a problem with the boat or an accident at work that would send him backwards again. For 18 months Mark would regularly work long hours for next to nothing, and feeling they had nowhere to turn, they contacted the Fishermen’s Mission for help.

Our Mission Port Officer for our South Coast Outreach Programme, supported Mark and his family for 3 months in person and via telephone calls, helping them address their rent and bill arrears by facilitating a grant which would prevent the family from having to face the devastating crisis of homelessness.  He also provided emotional and pastoral support to Mark and Laura as they struggled to cope with the stress of their situation.

Today Mark is working for a new company fishing all round the UK coastline, developing his fishing career through training and enjoying life again spending time with his family. He told us:

“The Fishermen’s Mission picked us up at the lowest point of our lives and relationship and we are now a happy, stable family, moving on with our lives. We no longer see the charity as an organisation any more, but thanks to their help and support, we now see them as a friend that helped us through one of the darkest times of our lives.”

To find out more visit our website - www.fishermensmission.org.uk


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Jill Ellis pledged £21
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