By Stephen Cauchi
10 February 2022
A Hastings centre that supports ships crews is seeking grant funding, so it can reopen after a devastating storm.
Heavy rain and storms on 7 January damaged the roof of the Hastings Seafarers Centre and led to the collapse of the ceiling.
Hastings Seafarers’ Centre chairman Geoff Connelly said the gutters on the centre’s roofs had not been cleaned for a long time, allowing water from the storm to seep through.
He said the insurance company considered that the damage was caused by negligent maintenance and did not pay.
The Seafarers’ Centre has received $500 from a locally-operating business for an investigation into the damage, and $1800 from the Hastings Rotary Club to repair the roof.
But the centre still needs $2300 to cover the costs of ceiling repairs.
Mr Connelly said he was hoping this would come from a grant from the Australian Mariners Welfare Society.
He said the centre was also applying for a maintenance grant, to clear its gutters.
The Mission to Seafarers is a society of the global Anglican Communion, operating in 200 ports around the world. In Victoria, four sites operate, at Melbourne, Portland, Geelong and Hastings.
Mr Connelly said that 10 to 20 seafarers visited the Hastings centre each day, amounting to thousands each year.
The mission gives seafarers support in many forms, including care packages, spiritual support, essential supplies and transport. Mr Connelly said they also provided a chaplaincy program for all faiths.
The Hastings centre itself has a recreation room with a pool table, and a comfortable space for ships’ crews to relax.
Mr Connelly said that if the centre received a grant, it could reopen before the end of February.