SeaFit and FishWell are striving to find creative ways of continuing to support local fishing communities, and have teamed up with the Eastern Seafish Training Association (ESTA) to deliver Parcels of Kindness. The first 75 of 350 parcels, containing a range of healthy fruit and vegetables, along with a treat or two, were delivered to active and/or retired fishermen last week.

The SeaFit programme, which has recently been shortlisted for a Third Sector Business Charity Award (Fishing News, 9 April, ‘SeaFit and SmilesAtSea shortlisted for prestigious charity award’), is working to improve the health and wellbeing of fishermen and their families. SeaFit is a joint programme run by the Fishermen’s Mission and the Seafarers’ Hospital Society, supported by Seafarers UK.

Carol Elliott, SeaFit programme delivery manager, said: “It is wonderful how new and existing partners are coming together to continue to support our fishermen and their families.

“We can’t physically meet people, or run any harbourside health events at the moment, but we want fishermen to know we are available by phone, email and internet if people need help.”

Image: Sue Jay MBE, managing director of MTCIC, preparing to pack 350 Parcels of Kindness for fishermen in Norfolk and Suffolk.

FishWell is a mental health and wellbeing project run by partner organisation MTCIC. Sue Jay MBE, managing director of MTCIC, said: “Mental health support at this time is needed for so many of us – however, it’s even more crucial for fishermen who are no longer able to sell their fish. Services are here and ready to help.

“We are grateful to Honington and Sapiston Village Hall for acting as our distribution hub. Ian Patterson-Parker, the facilities manager, has been a real star in co-ordinating deliveries and making up the 350 boxes for shipment. Our thanks go to him for making our idea possible.”

Clive Monk and Simon Bywater from ESTA said: “It is a difficult time for everyone, and we are pleased to be able to help with this invaluable project to support the fishing community of Norfolk and Suffolk. ESTA is not just here for training; we try to offer support to the industry in many other ways.”

A planned reunion event for over 50 people had to be cancelled, and Tim Jenkins, area officer for the Fishermen’s Mission, said: “We wanted to send out parcels to say that although we are not out and about, we haven’t forgotten our fishermen. We asked Kevin Ellener, from Arnolds Produce at Stanton in Suffolk, if he could assist, and he readily agreed to help out.”

Any fisherman or family member needing support in Norfolk or Suffolk can contact FishWell on: 07930 273807 or: info@fishwell.org.uk

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