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Danielle travels to Croatia to deliver wellbeing message to shipping company’s sailors.

Danielle Grant on stage at croatia seafarers' conference

Published on: March 28, 2024

Positive Effect goes International! Danielle Grant delivered two 90 minute seminars on wellbeing to 200 sailors in Dubrovnik.

Wellbeing Trainer, Danielle Grant writes

I deliver Health and Wellbeing courses for the Business. I deliver online training to school Mental Health Leads for Positive Effect too.

One of the regular projects that I deliver training for, on behalf of The Mission To Seafarers, is the ‘We Care’ course; to seafarers around the world.

Recently, the training offer was face to face – and it just so happened that the massive shipping company MOL was holding an annual safety conference, in Dubrovnik in Croatia and they invited me to go along.

So, I packed up my training bag and caught three trains and two planes to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Having one gentleman named ‘Claude’ as my contact, I threw myself into the world of shipping- along with over 200 seafarers and support staff for MOL– all of whom were either from Croatia, Montenegro, Russia, the Netherlands or Japan.

Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming. Croatia is exceptionally beautiful so I had a fantastic time.

 There were two 90-minute seminars to deliver to a room full of seafarers working on tankers or ‘LNG’ (Liquid Nitrogen Gas) vessels. The first session was in front of around 120 MOL staff including Managing Directors, and ‘Manning’ (HR) teams.

The second session was to a similar number of tanker seafarers. Many of whom had worked and lived the harsh and demanding world of seafaring for many years. It’s a world built around strength of character and grit.

The second group, although respectful, were challenging some of the ideas around mental health and wellbeing. Additionally, the videos on the presentation were not accessible. So I had to improvise and managed to get four volunteers to act a short video scene. They were performing the roles of an unsupportive captain and a member of the crew versus a supportive captain with great listening skills and empathy.

With some prepared ‘script/prompt cards’ I facilitated an on-stage role play. It could have backfired but luckily the delegates seem to enjoy themselves, as did the rest of the ‘audience’!

I rose to the challenge, as I saw it as an opportunity to make a real difference to the men.

After the session finished, I joined the seafaring men on the terrace to hear more about the work they do and to offer support and compassion for the experiences they had endured.

Spending time with the men was important to me, as I really wanted to connect with them. They opened up and it was a very special moment when the anger and frustration dissipated into a softer more friendly connection.

Overall, it was an amazing opportunity for me, as well as for Positive Effect. Hopefully the relationship with the Mission to Seafarers can blossom into a solid partnership and we can get Compass’ ‘name mentioned global more often.

It felt surreal, only the week before I was sitting in a bus depot in London with bus drivers.

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