It's time to help our fishermen in Lowestoft and Southwold
PUBLISHED: 16:20 07 March 2014 | UPDATED: 16:20 07 March 2014
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A charity has launched an urgent appeal to help struggling fishermen in Lowestoft and Southwold, whose livelihoods have been affected by the recent storm surge.
The Fishermen’s Mission has launched a nationwide appeal for emergency funds to support fishermen in coastal communities who have been unable to land any catches and are suffering hardship.
The Mission, which helps fishermen and their families in times of tragedy, is calling on people to donate.
As well as raising money to help those still bringing in a catch, it offers financial and pastoral aid to the families and widows of fishermen.
Last night senior superintendent Tim Jenkins, port missioner for Lowestoft and East Anglia, said the appeal was “a national first,” but stressed the Mission which helps people in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, would support desperate fishermen and their families who need help across the region.
With immediate emergency grants of up to £500 being made available to fishermen who are in need – to help them pay rent, bills and food – the Mission has been boosted by a £50,000 donation from Seafarer’s UK, but more is desperately needed.
Mr Jenkins said there were about 200 commercial fishermen in East Anglia adding: “Obviously over the last three to four months, particularly between November and February, fishermen have had such a terrible time what with the weather.
“One fisherman from Lowestoft, who I spoke to yesterday, has been out fishing three times this year and on two occasions has not got enough fish to make money, what with his fuel costs.”
He added; “It is a national first for the Fishermen’s Mission to launch an emergency fund to help fishermen. We have had so many requests coming in to help others – we need folk to stand with us and rally round our communities.”
The latest developments come just a fortnight after The Journal revealed the plight of beleaguered fishermen on the east coast – with fears raised about the future of town’s status as a fishing port in the midst of the offshore energy drive.
Mr Jenkins said: “The fund is two-fold. We are wanting fishermen locally, who are struggling to pay essential bills to come to us for help and, secondly, we need the general public to donate more into the fund.”
Mr Jenkins said that another East Anglian fisherman, who had asked to remain anonymous, was particularly struggling,
“He has a wife and a five-year-old son, but for a month before I had been to see him all they had eaten was reduced bread from their local supermarket and some meaty soup,” Mr Jenkins said.
“The mission’s fund has helped to pay their rent arrears, council tax and physically help them.”
Mr Jenkins, who has been working for the Fishermen’s Mission since 2006, covers 224 miles of coastline between Kings Lynn to Canvey Island. As senior superintendent to more than 40 harbours, he spoke about the plight of the local fishermen.
“They are struggling and most definitely need help,” Mr Jenkins said. “My local ports have not asked for as much help as they might have done. There is a little bit of bass about, but when they go out the fish are so far off that the fishermen don’t have enough fuel to go further afield to the longer distances where the fish are. This is one of the main problems.”
Last night, Waveney MP Peter Aldous backed the Mission’s emergency appeal for funds. He told The Journal: “I am aware that there has been particular hardship to the fishermen caused by the storms and floods, so I welcome and fully support the Mission. With the floods that have happened it does show the knock-out effect is far and wide and it is certainly affecting lots of livelihoods.
“The fishermen have been very badly affected and I hope that the community will rally round once more.”
■ To donate funds online to the appeal visit www.fishermensmission.org.uk/just-giving.html or leave any monies at the Fishermen’s Mission office at
Waveney Docks, Battery Green Road, Lowestoft marked up as Emergency Appeal.