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Sailors’ Children’s Society Transforming lives for 197 years


The Sailors' Children's Society provides help and support to families of those who work at sea.

We spoke with CEO, Deanne Thomas, to discover more about their work and how individuals and businesses can get involved to help the cause.


Can you tell us a little bit more about Sailors’ Children’s Society?

We formed back in 1821, so we’re an age-old charity. Our work has changed throughout the years, but we’ve always helped disadvantaged children of the people who work at sea, such as those in the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy, Fishing Fleets or other seafarers.

The bulk of our work nowadays is offering financial assistance, respite breaks, and practical and emotional support.

For example, a family could turn to us when something bad has happened, such as a bereavement, diagnosis of an illness or loss of a relative.

The financial help could involve money for children to continue participating in sports classes and clubs like Brownies. We also offer parents funds for things like school uniforms, winter clothing and computers if they can’t afford them.

The respite caravan breaks are a main part of what we do. We offer a week away in one of our Haven caravans to enjoy some time away from their situation. This really helps when a bereavement has occurred, as it removes them from the family home and time to be spent as a normal family and re-bond.

There are lots of memories – good and bad – at home after a person dies. However, at a caravan park, these memories won’t be so raw.

On top of all this, our experienced team provides face-to-face support to all members of the family.


Why are the children of seafaring parents particularly vulnerable?

Well, it’s not always fishing or sea-related, but a job out at sea certainly takes its toll. It’s a difficult occupation that relies on the person being in full health to do it. If the worker can no longer do their job because of health reasons, this can have a huge impact on the family at home financially and emotionally.

We provide small bits of financial support, as well as working with the families to deal with this new dynamic.

Another scenario would be when a member of the family has fallen ill and the person who works at sea has to return to the household to take care of that person.

Across the Humber region, we also assist grandparents who have taken in their grandchildren after the parents can no longer look after them. Often people aged 70 and over are having to cope with teenagers living in their house and learn how to be a parent/carer all over again.

Our approach is to step in when a family needs us and step out again when the issue has been resolved.


How can people help you guys out?

We’re always looking for fundraisers to support us in providing our service. You can either donate directly via our Just Giving and Virgin Money pages, or organise a fundraising event yourself – we’re constantly welcoming new ideas.

Meanwhile, we’re recruiting for volunteers for our Sportsman’s Lunch event on Friday 12 October.

In 2021, we’re going to be two centuries old. So, we’ve started the 200 Business Club and seeking 200 businesses to donate £250 a year for four years. If we succeed, we’ll be able to raise £200,000 to go towards buying some new caravans for our beneficiaries.


If someone finds themselves in a situation like you mentioned above, how can they reach out to you?

Firstly, they can ring us on 01482 342 341. Alternatively, we can be contacted via our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. You can also email us at info@sailorschilren.org.uk.


Find out more about the Sailors' Children's Society

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