Skip to main content

Understanding the needs of older merchant navy veterans: final report

Report | October 2020

The Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report (2015) recognised the role of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) and merchant navy in armed conflict, and therefore their place as veterans. Although there has been some research on the numbers and needs of former merchant navy seafarers and their dependants, relatively little is known about the needs of veterans or the effectiveness of any services specifically developed to meet their needs.

IPC was commissioned as Academic Partner by Seafarers UK to undertake research over a three-year period to improve understanding of the merchant navy veterans community, and, specifically, to:

  • better define and understand the size, location, health and social care needs of veterans (born before 1st January 1950) and their dependants;
  • raise the profile of UK merchant navy veterans with ex-service welfare providers and with local authorities and their community covenant teams;
  • better understand the range of specialist and non-specialist services and organisations which exist and which address, or have the potential to address, the needs and aspirations of this group of veterans;
  • establish and evaluate the Nautilus casework approach to the provision of specialist support to improve understanding of what works in reaching merchant navy veterans; what support veterans need and aspire to and what this means for future service development; and
  • establish a set of strategic priorities arising from the research to inform the development of specialist services for merchant navy veterans (if proven to be needed) and/or ensure that they can access services which meet their needs.

Understanding the needs of older merchant navy veterans describes detailed findings from a range of research activities undertaken by IPC over a three-year period. This included a combination of surveys and face-to-face interviews with veterans, together with a service review in the Solent region, to identify challenges and make recommendations on providing specialist support for this group and their dependants.