Families come to us usually after a traumatic event such as bereavement, diagnosis of a terminal illness or the breakdown of a marital relationship. We provide ongoing support for the children until the family is again self-sufficient or until the children have left full time education. All the families we help are on a means tested benefit which ensures we only help those in most need.
The Society is funded via donations, legacies, local fundraising events, trusts and grants such as Seafarers UK, Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and Trinity House. In these uncertain economic times the funding we receive from our major funders and Trusts is extremely important to us. Without this funding we would struggle to help all of our existing families and also seafaring families in the future.
Sailors’ Children’s Society is working in partnership with the Big White Wall which is a free confidential online mental health and wellbeing service offering self-help programmes, creative outlets and a community that cares. When you’re dealing with everyday stresses or major life events, we’ll help you get through it.
The types of help we provide is financial assistance through our Child Support Scheme, emotional and practical support (please move your mouse over each grant for a description for each area of support):
Monthly Child Welfare Grants
Monthly Child Welfare Grants – to be able to continue to go to the various children’s clubs for example judo, karate or clarinet lessons, means that the children are away from this. In the current climate of ever increasing costs of living, these welfare grants are often used to provide heating for the children or a nutritionally balanced meal.
Clothing Grants – paid twice each year, the first to provide a new school uniform in September. A child spends the majority of his/her time at school and school is generally the main driver for social interaction. A new school uniform to allow each child to be the same as their peers is extremely important to a child’s confidence and self- esteem. The second clothing grant is given to provide a warm winter coat and sturdy shoes, the majority of the families we help do not have a car and travel each day either on foot or by public transport.
Christmas Grant – a small grant to buy each child a gift at this special time of year, this is a traditional grant at the wishes of our Trustees.
Student Support Scheme – If the child is over the age of 18 and currently supported on the Child Support Scheme, we can continue to provide a welfare grant in order to help with their ongoing studies at University/College.
Emergency Heating Grant
Emergency Heating Grant – during the winter of 2010, we issued emergency heating grants to all our families suffering in the cold. This grant will be repeated should the extreme winter conditions return.
Special Grants – these type of grants are usually given in extreme cases such as furniture for the child’s bedroom and are on a one-off basis.
Caravan Holidays – Travel Grant
Caravan Holidays – the Society owns nine caravans at seaside resorts throughout the United Kingdom. The impact of a holiday to a child is immeasurable from the anticipation of what the holiday will bring to making new friends and trying new activities whilst away. Our holidays allow children to be children for that week away. We also provide a travel grant to help with public transport or fuel costs.
School Holiday Vouchers and Pantomime Ticket Appeals
School Holiday Vouchers and Pantomime Tickets – the school holidays are an extremely expensive time of year for our families. In order to help during these times, each year we apply to a large number of local attractions including cinemas, safari parks, bowling alleys, adventure playgrounds and theatre for free family passes.
Regular Emotional Support Visits/Contact
Emotional Support – the Society team are extremely experienced in helping families, whether that be simply providing a sympathetic ear or researching and finding more specialist help when needed. We encourage our families to talk to each other and share their experiences and we also have a thriving Facebook community. We provide face-to-face emotional and practical support in families home in the North and South regions when needed, in order for families to move forwards in life.
Annual Visit Updates
Annual Updates – each family is visited at least once a year using volunteer caseworkers from organisations such as SSAFA Forces Help, the Royal British Legion and The Royal National Mission of Deep Sea Fishermen. These caseworkers visit alongside our team of Family Support Officers. This means we can provide the most relevant help for each family depending on their own personal circumstances.
“I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the support I have received. My youngest son Morgan was able to play the guitar at his school, which costs £5 per session and I was also able to buy him a secondhand guitar to practise on. Morgan asked me for a long time if he could play a musical instrument and for a long time I was forced to say no because of my financial situation, however this was made possible due to the top up in my money each month, so I thank you immensely for that.”
“Thank for our emergency heating grant, it means I can keep my heating on for more of the day while the children are off school, rather than cuddling water bottles when the temperature drops in the house.”
“I don’t want to leave! Such a good time. I will miss the rabbits badly. Hopefully we get to come back next year, thank you ever so much”. Guestbook comment at Perran Sands Caravan in Cornwall.