CHARITY organisation Seafarers has been inundated with support following a call for help to repair storm damage to its Hastings offices.
Since reaching out to the community, Seafarers Hastings branch chairman Geoff Connelly (above) said offers of assistance have come flooding, and the repairs to the building are almost complete (“Seafarers call out for help” The News 26/1/22).
“I just can’t thank the people and organisations who came to our aid enough,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful show of community generosity and has allowed us to continue our work helping ship crews, and plan for the future.”
Heavy rain and storms on Friday 7 January damaged the roof of the group’s Bayview Road building, causing the water-logged ceiling to collapse.
The damage rendered the building uninhabitable, and the volunteers dedicated to supporting ship crews when they come into Western Port desperately called for a helping hand.
Mr Connelly said the need to be ready to support new ships arriving in port meant there was an urgency in getting the building up and running again.
Now, after several generous donations in the form of money and building support from other charitable organisations such as Hastings Rotary and Australian Mariner’s Welfare Society, as well as individuals and companies BlueScope Steel and Esso, the mission is just about complete, and the Seafarers are back in business.
“It’s so wonderful, it’s put my faith back into community helping community,” Mr Connelly said.
Mr Connelly said Seafarers provided support for all sea crew, many who were on international ships, by welcoming them into the community and providing spiritual support, assistance with transport, and essential supplies in the way of a “care package”.
“The crews appreciate the contact and seeing someone with a smiling face who cares about their welfare,” he said.
“We have a chaplaincy program for all faiths, but sometimes it’s just the welcome and friendly hello they need.”
The Hastings centre provides a recreation room with a pool table and a comfortable space for crews to relax.
“Some of these crew members have been out to sea for 12 months and appreciate somewhere to be when they get time off the ship and help to get around and get what they need,” Mr Connelly said.