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Sailors’ Society: The seafarer link

Southampton: The Sailors’ Society is one of shipping’s most famous charities, providing an international network of chaplains at ports around the world.
Stuart Rivers was appointed CEO of the UK-based charity in April last year. Previously he has worked in both the commercial and charity sectors, with Ericsson, The Salvation Army and Bible Society.
Now in the role for coming up to a year, 2014 is set to be an exciting one for the organisation, Rivers tells Maritime CEO. By his own admission Rivers is a social entrepreneur and one of the things he is most excited about launching is a new mobile application to help streamline the society’s international chaplaincy. The app allows for real time reporting of ship visits and any problems encountered, meaning that the society can react faster to any situations its chaplains encounter. The next phase of development has now started, and will bring functionality such as ‘Check In’ for chaplains to record length of visits using AIS and GPS integration, and a back end CRM system allowing data collection and analysis to supportits impact reporting.
The society has also launched an intranet site to further support its front line staff with resources, gather valuable stories, photos and videos, and improve the level of communication between its chaplains and the support staff in Southampton.
“We are also expanding the scope of our chaplaincy operations, both in terms of geographical reach and breadth of programme,” Rivers says, adding:  “Our aim is to support seafarers and their families in port, at home and at sea, so that we are always there for them. In particular, we have increased the level of welfare support to those who are affected by abandonment, piracy and accidents, as these are times when the need is greatest.”
In 2014, the charity will appoint 11 new chaplains in South America and Asia.
“In light of the terrible events in the Philippines, we have reacted quickly to ensure a worldwide network of support for seafarers, as well as placing chaplains on the ground in the disaster area, so this will also be a major focus for new resources this year,” Rivers says, referring to last year’s horrendous Typhoon Haiyuan that ripped through the centre of the Philippines.
Among many fund raising initiatives the society is organising this year, noteworthy for those with New Year’s resolutions still in tact to get fit, the charity has a number of slots available for those with ambitions to run in the London Marathon. Check for more details.  [06/01/14]

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