Saturday, 4 September 2021

Free training for ‘financial champions’ to boost resilience of fishing communities


The Seafarers’ Charity - a leading provider of grants and support to the maritime community - are offering a free, online workshop to train ‘financial champions’ in UK ports and harbours, as part of their strategic aim to strengthen the financial resilience of fishing communities around the UK. The workshop, which will be delivered by The Money Charity on 7 October, will empower trusted allies of the fishing community - such as harbour masters, local volunteers, and front-line staff - to provide important support and information on money management to fishers and their families.

The workshop is supported by the British Ports Association, UK Harbour Masters, The Fishermen's Mission, and Stella Maris, and will mark a significant milestone in The Seafarers’ Charity’s efforts following the publication of the landmark ‘Fishing Without a Safety Net’ report in September 2020. The striking report, which revealed the financial difficulties and subsequent mental health impacts of small-scale fishers in the UK, included the urgent recommendation of financial education for fishers, via an informal, peer-to-peer approach.

During the workshop, key individuals with a personal or professional connection to the fishing industry will receive information and training to enable them to become financial ‘buddies’ or ‘champions’, capable of sharing accurate, up-to-date information regarding saving options, budgeting, credit choices, taxation and sources of free support to help with financial problems. Catherine Spencer, CEO of The Seafarers’ Charity says;

We understand that advice is often best received when it comes from trusted local, social and community networks. That’s why we’re boosting the financial knowledge of those close to the fishing industry, so fishers have someone to turn to for reliable support. This training represents a vital step towards our ambition of supporting fishers and their families in becoming more financially secure, resilient and independent.

As was raised in the landmark report, share fishers - those who are self-employed and receive part or all of their income via sharing the profits from the catch - are often subject to financial insecurity. Share fishing offers fishers flexibility and freedom, and many value it, but it can result in a precarious and fluctuating income, with little access to affordable credit or any of the financial security and benefits afforded to PAYE employees. The comprehensive workshop on October 7 will include information about the value of establishing long-term savings and budgeting plans, and guidance on how to signpost fishers toward free tools that aid financial planning, and the sources of free help that is available when experiencing financial problems.

Various maritime charities and harbour-based organisations have already agreed to train their staff as trusted, front-line workers who fishers will be able to turn to for help and advice. David Dickens, CEO of The Fishermen’s Mission, whose whole team will be trained, said:

‘‘Our small-scale fleet has long experienced financial vulnerability, and now following the catastrophic impact of Covid-19, it is vital that we help fishing livelihoods to thrive. We’re really looking forward to training up the whole Fish Mish team to be ‘financial champions’, to become more financially clued-up ourselves, and to be able to share practical, accurate information to fishers and their families.’

The workshop will take place on 7th October, 2 pm, and is open to anyone identifying as close to the fishing industry, in a position to be a financial ‘champion’. The Seafarers’ Charity welcomes registrations from all interested in supporting the financial resilience of fishing communities here.