On wednesday 28th November the Ely Centre were delighted to welcome SANDES to present at out monthly coffee morning. We were delighted with the large turnout at this event with the hall packed to capacity. We all were fascintated to hear of the humble origins of this this superb Military Chaity which has been supporting soldiers since 1869. We would like to thank all those who took time out of their busy schedules to support this event. Please do remember the Christmas Themed Coffee morning which is planned for Wednesday 12th December.
Sandes is a highly respected Christian charity working to support those who serve in Armed Services and their families. The charity was started in 1869 by a young woman, Elise Sandes. She was deeply concerned for the welfare of English soldiers in her home town of Tralee who were scorned by civilian society. Recognising the temptations and loneliness of these men serving away from home, she went against the prejudice of her time offering them friendship and inviting them to meetings in her mother’s home.
She inspired many others to catch her vision. Starting with a coffee room in Tralee the work quickly developed and Sandes Homes were opened throughout Ireland and England. Elise used the phrase a ‘Home from Home’ to summarise her radical vision. The social, emotional and spiritual needs of soldiers were paramount and this was appreciated by the military command who warmly invited Sandes into their establishments.
Sandes remains faithful to the same vision of providing friendship and support for the military community as a witness and practical expression of the Christian faith. With the changing face of the British Army and Royal Air Force all Sandes Centres are currently based in the UK, three in Northern Ireland (Lisburn, Ballykinler and Holywood) and two in England (Pirbright and Harrogate).
The Centres fulfil a distinctive role being seen as a neutral, non-military space within the army camps. They provide catering and recreational facilities along with quiet areas for people to unwind and relax in a homely atmosphere. Families and personnel of all ranks are welcome in Sandes