Sailors’ Society was founded 200 years ago in London to minister to the needs of destitute seafarers who had returned home from the Napoleonic Wars.
Innovation has always played an important role in the charity’s welfare work and in May of 1818, the then Port of London Society moored Speedy, a former sloop of war, on the Thames, repurposing it as a chapel where seafarers could congregate and pray.
Many of the issues faced by the seafarers we supported in our fledgling years are the same faced by seafarers today, and our chaplains are still there for those facing isolation, dangerous conditions and separation from loved ones.
Problems that might seem resigned to the history books – like piracy – can still affect the world’s 1.6m seafarers, which is why the charity has created a crisis response network to support those affected by traumatic incidents, natural disasters, kidnapping and piracy.
Sailors’ Society has moved with the times, creating apps to improve on board well-being and more connected welfare provision.
And since 2013 we’ve doubled the number of our chaplains, so we’ve now got more than 115 chaplains and ship visitors supporting seafarers every day in 27 countries around the world.
We have a number of exciting events lined up to celebrate our bicentenary. To find out more, click here to sign up to our e-newsletter the Horizon.
Here’s to the next 200 years.