This January SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is urging the people of 40 counties across the UK to build on their New Year’s resolutions and learn new skills, whilst giving something back to their local Armed Forces community, by becoming a new volunteer caseworker.
The military charity, which has supported currently serving members of our Armed Forces, veterans and their families for over 131 years, is seeing the requests for support from this group increase and become more complex.
SSAFA volunteer caseworkers support members of the Armed Forces community in a range of ways, including:
- Visiting them in their homes, assessing their needs and building a bespoke package of support.
- Providing support with issues such as – mobility, home repairs, household goods, homelessness, marriage breakdown, mental health problems, urgent debt support, essential food and groceries and clothing and training costs to help younger veterans back into work.
- Accessing funds for house adaptations for a service man or woman injured whilst fighting for their country.
- Befriending elderly veterans and providing them with some much-needed company and happiness to combat loneliness and isolation.
- Raising the rent for a young veteran unemployed and struggling to transition from military life to civilian life.
- To illustrate what impact volunteer case working can have, here is Jason’s story – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlYSHEGvjpc
Former teacher Pam Reynolds has been a SSAFA volunteer caseworker for more than seven years. Pam says: “I have volunteered for SSAFA for more than seven years and they have flown by. I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people while working with the charity and love the work we do. It’s the satisfaction of seeing a person in need; go from sometimes dire circumstances, through to getting back on their feet and living the life they deserve.
“It’s such a rewarding role that is never the same day by day so you’ll never get bored.
“For me, especially since retiring from the education sector, volunteering has given me new life and energy and I am keeping fit and my mind active as a result, all whilst supporting the Armed Forces community with the work of the charity. I simply love it and it gives me a chance to continue to use my professional skills and those gained in my personal life – I don’t intend to get bored in my retirement!
“So whoever you are – whatever age or background and wherever you are, give SSAFA a call or visit www.ssafa.org.uk/newrecruits to find out more or to sign up, you won’t regret it!”
In a recent survey of SSAFA volunteers in 2016, the charity reports that:
- 95 per cent of its volunteers are proud to tell people they volunteer for SSAFA.
- 93 per cent of its volunteers enjoy their volunteer work and feel their role allows them to make use of their skills and experience.
- More than half of its volunteers (52 per cent) have volunteered for the charity for more than five years and more than one in four (27 per cent) have volunteered for the charity for more than 10 years.
Sue Pillar, SSAFA Director of Volunteer Operations and former Army Lieutenant Colonel said: “SSAFA predicts that the welfare needs of the local Armed Forces community will continue to rise. World War Two veterans are now well into their 90s and the impact of conflicts such as the Falklands, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan on our younger veterans and their families continue to reveal themselves.
“SSAFA is looking for men and women who are willing and able to help provide a lifeline to veterans and their families in need. Volunteering for SSAFA is a unique challenge that is rewarding, interesting and hands-on, that requires planning and problem solving using local knowledge to support the varying needs of a wide range of people.
“The men and women who have served in our Armed Forces have given so much it is now up to us to support them. Please get in touch with one of our team to find out more.”
If you are interested in joining your local SSAFA team, please visit www.ssafa.org.uk/newrecruits or call 0800 032 5612.
Notes to editors
About volunteering for SSAFA:
- SSAFA is searching for volunteers who are empathetic and non-judgemental.
- SSAFA hopes to find volunteers who can commit to providing a minimum of four hours per week for the caseworker role.
- SSAFA sees its volunteer relationship as a partnership and supports them with comprehensive training, advice and support. Their expenses are paid for.
- An Armed Forces background is not essential to be a SSAFA volunteer, however IT literacy is essential and a valid driving license is highly desired.
- Prospective volunteers will be contacted and invited to attend an interview and if successful will then need to provide references and complete relevant checks and registrations.
About SSAFA –
- SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity (formerly known as the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Families Association), provides lifelong support to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force including reservists, and their families.
- Each year, our professional staff and network of more than 6,500 volunteers help some 60,000 people, ranging from World War Two veterans to the families of young servicemen and women wounded or killed in Afghanistan.
- In 2005, 25% of the beneficiaries SSAFA supported locally across the UK were under 60 years of age, some ten years later; this figure has risen to over 40%.