Congratulations at SSAFA’s Mentoring Conference

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity held its annual conference for its Mentoring Service on the 9 October 2023. The conference brought together mentors from all over the country.

Held in Coventry, the conference was sponsored by Amazon and Landmarc, both of which provided keynote speakers for the event, displaying both corporation’s gold standard assistance to their veteran workforce.

Clare Bain, Mentoring Services Manager, said:

“SSAFA is grateful to all our speakers, especially those from Landmarc and Amazon, who have entertained us with their personal stories and given us an insight into just how well some organisations look after service leavers.”

Mentors were treated to talks by representatives of all three Services, who explained their various roles in transitioning service people out of the Armed forces and into civilian life. This was particularly useful for newly trained mentors, who gained a deeper understanding of the processes involved.

Katherine Houlston from the Army Families Federation gave a useful presentation explaining to Mentors the importance of involving the whole family in process.

“It’s not just the soldier who can be institutionalised. Families move around, following the service person’s career. Service life becomes their way of life over decades. To move away from this lifestyle can be traumatic and difficult for everyone involved.”

Mentors and mentees shared their lived experiences of the Mentoring Service. James and Sioned, mentor and mentee. James explained that, initially, he was worried about volunteering for SSAFA as a mentor as he had no military background.

James said:

“I suffered a bit from imposter syndrome when I first started mentoring, not having served. But Sioned found that she needed to talk to someone ‘on the outside’, so it actually sometimes works in your favour.”

Mentors come from all kinds of backgrounds and are based all over the UK. They support serving members of the military as they transfer out of service life and into the civilian world. Usually, this transition goes smoothly as the Armed Forces have a robust transition pathway. However, as WO2 Callum Dingnan from the Army’s Personnel Recovery Unit explained, those service people who find themselves medically discharged, or those who fail the compulsory drugs test, often find themselves discharged without access to the full military transition pathway and are the groups which are likely to need the most help settling into civilian life.

“When you were not expecting to leave service, it can be a heck of a shock. Suddenly you have to organise everything for yourself and are usually dealing with some hefty personal issues at the same time. This is where SSAFA Mentors really make a difference.”

Mentoring is a voluntary role which is supported by full training and support, including a Level 2 qualification in peer mentoring.

More information on Mentoring can be found at

To register your interest in becoming a mentor please email

If you, or someone you know, may benefit from the SSAFA Mentoring service, you can make a referral using the link above.


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