For four decades, the ITF Seafarers’ Trust has remained one of the principle funders of programmes and projects associated with seafarers’ welfare in ports. In that time, the Trust has awarded some 1,500 grants towards the purchase and replacement of vehicles, spending over 3 million GBP in the process.
Introduced in 2016, the Vehicle Replacement Programme (VRP) not only maps the availability of vehicles to transport seafarers, but streamlines the process to replace vehicles, improves the quality of grant requests received and assists the Trust in proactively deciding, according to the information provided in the survey, when and where a new vehicle is most needed. In 2017 we spent around 580,000 GBP to sponsor 20 vehicles picked from the master list resulting from the survey.
The survey is sent out approximately every 18 months in order to have up-to-date results, most recently in June 2018. When the survey is complete, we are able to invite some Centres to apply to replace their vehicle for the spring and autumn sessions of the VRP over the following year and half. Funds are limited, so not all of the survey’s participants will be invited to apply, but the Trust will be then able to target the vehicles that need to be replaced more urgently and support those centres to apply for a grant to replace their aging vehicles.
Completion of the survey does not constitute an application to the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, nor does it guarantee future funding for a vehicle. Once a centre is invited to apply they still need to complete a formal grant application to the Trust, but a proactive invitation can encourage and support welfare services to make an application, particularly smaller centres where they would not otherwise have felt able to apply.
The survey helps the Trust to more effectively and equitably distribute its funds and will ultimately lead to the improvement of seafarers’ welfare worldwide.