Mercy Ships UK, based in Stevenage since 2001 and a member of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is looking to set up its’ first fundraising group as part of a growing network throughout the country, and is seeking support from the local community through churches, schools, businesses, leisure and social groups.

The global charity operates a fleet of hospital ships providing medical care, relief aid, community development projects and long-term sustainable development to the poorest countries in the world where no affordable health care is available.   

 

The newest ship, The Africa Mercy, formerly a Danish rail ferry is currently being converted into the charities third hospital ship. The £35 million refit is near completion and some funds are still needed to complete the transformation and install the essential supplies and equipment needed.  

 

When complete, it will be the world’s largest charity hospital ship housing six operating theatres, a 78 bed ward and 20 containers for medical supplies. The ship will head to Ghana early this summer with a crew of 450 volunteers, including highly skilled medical teams who will carry out much-needed operations, such as cataract and tumour removals, cleft lips and palates, dental treatments, VVF repairs and orthopaedic surgeries making a lasting difference to individual lives. 

 

As a global charity, with very little government funding Mercy Ships is entirely dependent on the generosity of volunteers, supporters, fundraisers and companies who provide gifts-in-kind.  

Justin Watkins, Procurement Manager for Mercy Ships said: “We are particularly grateful to Hertfordshire Chamber Member, Elan Pharma Ltd for offering office equipment and supplies which they will no longer need when the company moves to new premises at the end of March.”     

Elan Pharma Ltd is part of Elan Corporation PLC, a neuroscience based biotechnology company researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing advanced therapies in neurology, autoimmune diseases and severe pain.   

 

Companies can help in Mercy Ships’ goal to serve one million people a year, by setting up a Payroll Giving Scheme. In doing so, small to medium sized enterprises employing up to 500 staff, may qualify for a government grant of £300 to £500, as promoted to Chamber members recently by Business in the Community and described in the January 2006 newsletter. 

 

Judy Polkinhorn, Executive Director for Mercy Ships UK said: “We would be happy to visit members to discuss the Payroll Giving scheme and to provide a presentation to staff on the work of Mercy Ships and how payroll giving and local fundraising support can help us to continue providing medical relief and community development in a world of need.” 

 

For further information on the work of Mercy Ships, visit www.mercyships.org.uk .