Monday: I'm on the road to Plymouth by 5.15am to meet people from two projects funded by us that support isolated older ex-seafarers. I then head to the Port of Bristol Seafarers' Centre, which provides a range of support. Some seafarers spend six weeks at sea, then have only a day in port to unload and reload before heading back out to sea. Some won't see their families for a whole year. It puts my long day into perspective.
Tuesday: I catch up on my emails before meeting Seafish, the non-departmental public body. We've provided a grant to fund the purchase of 900 personal flotation devices for fishermen. Fishing is one of the most dangerous UK industries.
Wednesday: We provide grant services to other charities and part of my day is spent assessing research applications for the Forces in Mind Trust, which promotes the successful transition of armed forces personnel and their families into civilian life. Later, I have an update meeting on our grant to Age Concern Spain. For some veterans, retirement to Spain is a disaster. Many are isolated and living in poverty.
Thursday: I catch up on our £50,000 grant to the Fishermen's Mission emergency appeal for fishermen affected by the winter storms. Many have been confined to harbour for up to three months, which means no pay. The mission will make micro-grants towards things like rent and mortgage arrears. Later, I'm at the annual general meeting of Veterans Aid, which helps former members of the armed forces in crisis. Then I head to Liverpool for a networking dinner with merchant navy charities before tomorrow's opening of new supported accommodation for older ex-seafarers at the Nautilus Welfare Fund's retirement village.
Friday: It's the official opening of the new Nautilus retirement hub by the Princess Royal. Meeting her is invigorating - she is a long-time and very knowledgeable supporter of the merchant navy fleet. Dinner provides a great networking opportunity.
Seafarers UK supports people in the maritime community