For over a hundred years, The Seafarers’ Charity has been supporting UK and international seafarers in their times of need. Previously known as Seafarers UK, The Seafarers’ Charity provides grants to organisations which support those who work – or have worked – at sea, and their families.

Through funding collaboration, research and advocacy, The Seafarers’ Charity is working towards tackling the root causes of seafarer hardship and disadvantage both in the UK and around the world.

The Seafarers’ Charity is working in partnership with Relate to provide access to free relationship support and counselling, to help the fishing and seafaring communities to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives.

What can Relate Mid and East Surrey help with?

There are many reasons why working at sea can have an effect on couple and family relationships such as financial pressures caused by unpredictable income, the physical hazards of working at sea, time spent away from loved ones and not being at home for birthdays and anniversaries.

That’s why The Seafarers’ Charity has made free Relate counselling available to all fishers and anyone working in any capacity in the merchant navy. Dependants of both fishers and merchant navy employees can also access the service.

What’s on offer?

Relationship Counselling

Whether you’re facing difficulties in your relationship or you’d just like to get to know your partner better, Relationship Counselling can make a real difference.

Counselling provides a supportive, confidential and caring environment in which you can talk over any problems and think about ways to address them.

How many conselling sessions can I get?

The Seafarers’ Charity will pay for up to six Relationship Counselling sessions.

Family Counselling

Families can be a source of support, encouragement and love, but sometimes relationships within families are put under strain and family members feel overlooked or misunderstood.

Family Counselling can include nuclear and extended family members, separated parents, children and step families attending together or at different times. The focus is on the family system and improving the relationships in the family.

How many sessions are available?

Up to six Family Counselling sessions are available.

Sex Therapy

Sex Therapy can help if you’re experiencing difficulties in your love life and can help you to improve physical intimacy.

How many sessions are available?

Up to 12 free Sex Therapy sessions are available.

Young People’s Counselling

Young People’s Counselling is for any young person 11 years plus who is having problems. Whether it’s depression, anger issues, mental health concerns or issues with parents or people at school.

How many sessions are available?

Up to six free sessions are available.

How is counselling delivered?

All the available services can be delivered over the phone, by video call or face-to-face*, meaning you can get in touch whichever way suits you best, even if you are deployed overseas.

* Relate will resume face-to-face counselling when it is deemed safe to do so and in accordance with Government regulations.

Who is eligible to access the Support Services?

All Relate support services are available to current and former employees of the fishing and merchant navy seafaring communities, and their dependents. This includes any person who works at sea such as those working on ferries, tankers and support vessels.

Whether you’re married, living together, in a same-sex relationship, separated, divorced, widowed or single, we can help.

Are these services confidential?

Relate counselling is a private and confidential form of help. We hold information about each of our clients and the counselling they receive in confidence. This means that we will not normally give your name or any information about you to anyone outside the organisation.

However, there are exceptional cases where Relate might ethically or legally have to give information to relevant authorities, for example, if we had reason to believe that someone, especially a child, is at serious risk of harm or to prevent a miscarriage of justice.

We will discuss any proposed disclosure with you unless we believe that to do so could increase the level of risk to you or to someone else.

Where Relate are providing the counselling on behalf of an employer/funder, the employer/funder may provide Relate with a unique reference number for each client.

This allows Relate to work with the employer/funder, where a client may require further sessions and Relate need to seek permission to do so by providing the unique reference number and a rationale.

In all cases, the confidential details of the sessions will not be shared with the employer/funder.

How to access the services

To access the services contact SAIL.

Call: 0800 160 1842 or email: [email protected] and ask for a referral to Relate.

We recognise that the challenges of a seafaring life, including separation and money difficulties, can contribute to relationship stress. Our partnership with Relate allows seafarers to access help. We are committed to tackling problems at source. This service sits under our Health and Wellbeing strategic outcome – part of a range of work to help seafarers thrive.

Catherine Spencer, CEO The Seafarers’ Charity