At The Seafarers’ Charity, we welcome and celebrate all groups irrespective of their background and identity. Seafaring is international in nature and consists of seafarers from many different countries and cultures. We recognise the great diversity of those who work at sea and are committed to ensuring that we hear and understand the welfare needs of those with different opinions and experiences.

In 2020, The Seafarers’ Charity established an internal staff-led EDI group (the Diversity Group) who are given the time to come together to discuss and educate all staff on matters of race, nationality, gender, sexuality, disability, and mental health. The Diversity Group regularly shares activities, videos and training materials at staff team meetings which enable us all to engage in debate and discussion on different topics. In doing so, we challenge our thinking to ensure that we remain aware of different people's lived experiences and how pre-existing systemic issues impact diverse groups.

Our EDI journey: 2019 to present


We began collecting baseline data on governance of maritime welfare charities in accordance with Principle 6 of the Charity Governance Code

February 2020

We began offering grants of £5,000 to support and enable maritime welfare charities to carry out an independent external review of their organisational governance.

April 2020

We awarded the first £5,000 grant for an external review of organisational governance.

June 2020

Following the death of George Floyd, the Leadership Team supported staff to set up an EDI working group (the Diversity group) as a way of pooling our ideas, experiences and thoughts about what more we as individuals, and our charity as an organisation, could do in the fight for racial justice and for diversity, equity, equality and inclusion more broadly.

August 2020

The Diversity group held their first meeting on 5 August 2020 followed by regular monthly meetings. The Diversity Group now have a regular bi-monthly meeting schedule.

February 2021

We signed up to the Maritime UK Diversity Pledge (under our previous name of Seafarers UK).

February 2021

We held a webinar for beneficiaries to share the charity’s new grant-making strategy and explain why we are focusing on good governance and diversity.

May 2021

First appointment of Mental Health First Aider within staff team.

June 2021

We held a staff training session on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Essentials which was delivered by Equality and Diversity UK.

October 2021

We recruited Kian Goodsell from the 2027 Programme - a programme which aims to diversify grantmaking by 2027.

November 2021

The organisational policy statement was updated to an EDI policy which includes all forms of diversity and the intersectionality between them.

January 2022

We developed information on ‘Mental Health and its Impact on Different Communities’ to understand the intersectionality of mental health on different communities - a live working document.

February 2022

We held a staff training session on Mental Health Awareness delivered by Equality and Diversity UK.

February 2022

Kian Goodsell represented The Seafarers’ Charity on the panel at the Maritime UK Pride in Maritime Day (28 February).

March 2022

We awarded grant funding to Fighting with Pride and for Women in Cargo Ships research.

July 2022

Our staff took part in the London Pride Parade with Maritime UK and others on 2 July 2022. We sponsored the Pride t-shirts for the participants who joined the parade with us.

July 2022

We developed a Coming Out Toolkit which has been shared widely within the maritime sector and beyond.

August 2022

We held a staff training session on Unconscious Bias delivered by The Diversity Trust.

August 2022

The Seafarers’ Charity applied for and completed a panel interview to become a Diversity in Maritime Charter Organisation.

September 2022

  • We developed and delivered a collaborative Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EEDI) presentation at the Maritime Charities Group Conference.
  • We designed and distributed Diversity in Maritime badges.
  • We shared a list of books around diversity in delegate packs at the Conference.

September 2022

We recruited Mtonya Jarrett, our second 2027 Associate. The 2027 programme aims to diversify grantmaking by 2027.

October 2022

Deborah Layde, The Seafarers' Charity CEO was announced as the new Chair of the Women in Maritime Network.

October 2022

We hosted the Maritime UK Diversity Book Club.

October 2022

  • We held a staff team lunch ‘n’ learn for Black History Month.
  • We shared a list of activities and books around Black History.

November 2022

Our staff took part in a guided Black History Walk in London - walking from St. Paul's to Bank.

January 2023

  • We held a staff team lunch ‘n’ learn around disability.
  • We shared a list of activities, films and books around disability.

January 2023

Second appointment of Mental Health First Aider within staff team.

March 2023

  • On 1 March, we held a staff team lunch 'n' learn around Fairtrade.
  • We tasted different Fairtrade products.

March 2023

The work of our EDI team was recognised at the Maritime UK Awards 2023 where we were among the finalists for the Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award.

March 2023

We began collaborating with the All Aboard Alliance which has been established by the Global Maritime Forum to bring together senior leaders from the maritime industry to improve EDI. The most recent meeting focused on sexual violence at sea and also bias/discrimination.

April 2023

We were shortlisted for the Safety4Sea's Crew Welfare Diversity & Inclusion Award for focusing on the welfare needs of women on cargo ships.

April 2023

On Wednesday 20th April 2023, The Seafarers’ Charity and the International Christian Maritime Association held a webinar to begin the discussion on what more can maritime welfare charities do to support the safety and welfare needs of women working at sea.

May 2023

  • On 25 May, we held a staff team lunch ‘n’ learn around Windrush.
  • We shared a list of activities, films and books around Windrush.

We have amended our charity’s GDPR and EDI policies to further solidify the rights of all our staff members. We have developed a 'Mental Health and How It Affects Different Communities' document which is a live working document that is updated as needed. In addition, we have developed and reinforced a ‘Coming Out Toolkit’ which is given to staff upon their induction. We are aware that members of the LGBT+ community may feel apprehensive to start a new job and feel the pressure to either disclose or not disclose their gender and/or sexual identity. As a result, this document reminds our LGBT+ staff that they have the agency to decide if they would like to disclose this information. This toolkit also ensures that staff who are non-members of the LGBT+ community use their allyship. This will help to continue to make the workspace a safe and supportive environment.

Download the toolkit

EDI going beyond The Seafarers' Charity

We have formed a working group with other maritime charities to collaboratively take forward an approach to supporting and promoting greater equity, equality, diversity and inclusion within the governance of maritime welfare charities. There is a lot of research evidence about how diversity in governance contributes to diversity of thought and aids improved performance.

Download our EDI resources