A new welfare facility for seafarers calling into Calais is now up and running!
The previous seafarer centre, Calais Seamen's' Club, was forced to close after its sponsor suffered financial difficulties. The reduction in merchant shipping through the port of Calais meant that a full time, permanent club house was no longer viable. This meant seafarers calling in Calais were without access to some of the facilities and services that are so beneficial when calling into port, as well as being deprived of human contact from the shore.
A small team of dedicated volunteers wanted to ensure that there were still facilities available to the seafarers, and formed The New Association Calaisienne des Amis des Marins (ACAM). Together they came up with an innovative solution to the problem. A "mobile club"! Using a minibus to visit those ships that arrive in port, this removes overheads such as rent whilst still providing a lot of the welfare services that make life more comfortable for the seafarers they serve. Offering toiletries, confectionary, books, phone & sim cards, currency exchange and transportation into town for the seafarers, the volunteers are also currently looking at ways to provide mobile Wi-Fi.
The mobile club is a vital point of contact for seafarers. It also allows a chance for seafarers to talk to a person on land about any difficulties they may be experiencing at sea, and get help and support where needed.
Seafarers can contact the club through the president, Anne Fetel at 0033321363477 or 0033672771813 or through Jill Simpson at 0033321357749