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Openreach go above and beyond for SSAFA veteran in need

Since striking up their partnership in 2015, Britain’s digital network business Openreach have raised nearly £100k for SSAFA, the UK’s oldest Armed Forces charity.

Graham Barnard, Openreach employee goes beyond the call of duty:
Dougie is a 92 year old veteran living in Southend, who has always been very proud of his appearance and has a bountiful collection of shoes and clothes. He lives in a warden controlled studio flat, so space is a premium and, up until recently, he didn’t have any bedroom furniture to store his clothing in. The lack of storage meant that Dougie’s flat was very cluttered, which made his home a trip hazard for him.

Fortunately, Dougie’s local SSAFA Branch in Southend were able to raise some money to buy Dougie a brand new set of bedroom furniture – but they didn’t have the manpower to assemble it.

In early October, Graham Bernard, a 37 year old Operations Manager at Openreach from Brentwood, voluntarily visited Dougie to help declutter his flat and assemble his new furniture. Although it may seem like a small kindness, Graham’s volunteering will make a huge difference to Dougie’s life as he will be able to live safely and comfortably in his home.

Graham is looking to continue his support for SSAFA, by visiting other veterans who need support in their home. Next he plans to visit a blind veteran whose flat is in desperate need of refurbishing and decoration, which will take approximately a week to complete.

SSAFA were Openreach’s first formal Charity of the Year partner and the partnership was established in 2015 for five years. Openreach has a strong affiliation with the Armed Forces community and employs over 2,000 veterans in their workforce.

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity provides lifelong support to serving personnel, veterans and their families. SSAFA’s professional staff and network of more than 6,500 volunteers provide assistance to some 60,000 people, ranging from World War Two veterans to the families of young servicemen and women wounded or killed in Afghanistan.

Director of Fundraising at SSAFA, Tegan Jones comments:We are thrilled with this milestone being reached. It’s a testament to the team at Openreach being fully committed since the start of our partnership in 2015. The money raised will go a long way to continue support of the Armed Forces community, both practically and emotionally. We are proud to have a partnership with a business that encourages veterans to become part of their workforce to and forge successful, new careers after leaving the military”.

To illustrate this milestone, SSAFA also have access to a number of Openreach case studies – such as veteran and Openreach engineer, Martin Cassidy who having left the Forces in 2014 after a 15 year career in the Army, found the transition from military to civvy life to be a bumpy road, However, now aged 36 and working as a trainee engineer for Openreach, he is able to look back on his journey out of the Forces from a positive place*.

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Notes to editors

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, and their families. This includes both regulars and reserves.

Each year, our professional staff and network of more than 6,500 volunteers provide assistance to some 60,000 people, ranging from World War Two veterans to the families of young servicemen and women wounded or killed in Afghanistan.

For more information visit www.ssafa.org.uk and follow us on Twitter: @SSAFA.

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