‘OK is not good enough’.

The UK has a long history as a seafaring nation. In the 17th century the Quay at Exeter bustled with activity that all but disappeared with the coming of the railway. London was one of the busiest ports in the country with seaman from all over the world arriving looking for rest and relaxation ashore. And so QVSR was born to spread the gospel to seamen in the Port of London. The Mission grew to offer a recreation room, an alternative to the gin palaces, and accommodation in small cubicles. Then as the docks declined with the fast turnaround of large modern ships
and smaller crews QVSR took on a new role – providing accommodation for seaman and forces veterans. In the 21st century a further role, managing the mission centres at Port of London and Tilbury and most recently those at Immingham, Portbury and Felixstowe.

The building at Immingham was OK, but ‘OK’ is not good enough for merchant seamen who may only have a few hours ashore after months at sea. So, with a £1⁄4m grant from QVSR they set about a complete refurbishment to provide a welcoming space. The shop stocks phone cards, batteries, toiletries and a selection of sweets, which tempted Alastair – see photo. Healthy snacks are available but more popular are the hot pies and breakfast baps served from the well-fitted one person kitchen – see photo.

The bright conservatory has a selection of living plants, probably the only greenery in the port area. A welcome site for those who have been on container ships and the mural on one wall depicts famous landmarks of major cities – this includes the Humber Bridge, not to be mistaken for San Francisco. The open 24/7 recreation
space with table football also sports colourful artwork on the walls. The building meets my personal criteria, a full length mirror in the ladies! It’s the small details that make a difference – and of course the staff who offer a
friendly welcome every day. Rachel Norris