Educational charity looks to expand

The Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation is aiming to increase the number of its beneficiaries by 700 percent

The Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation (RMNEF), the charity which provides educational support to the children of Merchant Navy, fishing and RNLI seafaring families in need, want to bring its funds-to-beneficiary ratio into balance and provide more aid.

The charity is now looking to widen its support network to achieve a sevenfold increase in its beneficiary numbers within the next five years through capitalising on some of its property assets. Following its motto, that ‘education is the foundation’, the RMNEF works alongside other not-for-profit organisations within the sector to enable ‘foundationers’ to obtain professional, career-entry qualifications for future employment.

Founded in 1827, the charity has been supported by every British monarch since William IV in 1836. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh is its current president. Over the past two centuries, support has been offered to children of Merchant Navy seafarers, professional sea-going fishermen and RNLI lifeboat crew members, who are either currently serving or have served at sea.

Every applicant is assessed individually. Factors such as domestic environment, geographical location, health and finance are all taken into account. Support can involve contributions towards school or university fees, living expenses, educational books, visits or equipment, school uniform costs, laptops, internet access and, recently, a car.

Charles Heron-Watson, RMNEF CEO, says: “It’s not just education for education’s sake; the end goal is always to try to enable each foundationer to obtain training and qualifications to enhance their employability. We’re currently in the somewhat unusual position of not needing to raise any additional funds to implement this programme, so we’re concentrating on finding more young people of seafaring families and helping them build their educational foundation for a successful future.”

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