- “I’m in dire need of food as I have no food and haven’t eaten in a few days.”
- “… has fallen into rent arrears and has got a payment plan in place but is struggling financially to pay other bills. ”
- “I just took a call… they appear to be elderly but is quite difficult to understand. They told me they were in a desperate situation and are struggling for food etc. After bills, they have £2.40 a week to live on.”
In August 2022, SSAFA’s free and confidential helpline, Forcesline, has seen a dramatic 59% increase in requests for support through its online webchat, and 54% increase in telephone enquiries compared to August 2021.
Forcesline, accessible to all members of the Armed Forces community, including serving personnel, veterans, and their families, has seen a huge increase in requests for help via webchat, phone calls and emails.
In August 2022, Forcesline received more than 500 (546) requests for support via its webchat service, more than 1,500 (1,576) via telephone and more than 1,000 (1,053) via email compared with the same time in 2021. Overall, SSAFA’s Forcesline received – a staggering increase of 33% requests for support.
The ongoing cost of living crisis is having a harrowing effect on some of SSAFA’s beneficiaries. One caller was panicked after stating:
“I’m in dire need of food as I have no food and haven’t eaten in a few days.”
While another was concerned about feeding his children:
“Due to the increased cost of living and everything soaring in price we found ourselves unable to afford childcare and we often skip meals. Can you help at all?”
Bill Grant, Forcesline Manager at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said:
“I am very worried about the growing number of calls we’re getting from people who need support. An increase of more than 30% in comparison with 12 months ago, is significant.
“While we receive requests covering a range of topics from mobility issues to debt, we’re now also taking daily requests for help with the most basic of needs… people can no longer afford food, energy and housing. As winter comes, things sadly will only get tougher.”
The Forcesline team of specialist helpline advisors say that the most prevalent issues that have been brought to them by the Armed Forces community over the last year are:
- Utility prices
- Household goods
- Mental Health
- Mobility issues
SSAFA has been supporting the Armed Forces community for more than 137 years. The charity often sees issues around employment, finances and mental health are not addressed early enough, so these can often escalate to a stage where more drastic intervention is necessary.
Everyone faces different challenges, so SSAFA takes a tailored approach to understanding and supporting an individual in their time of need. A call or message to Forcesline can be the start of their journey and SSAFA is there to support the Armed Forces family every step of the way.
If you are a member of the Armed Forces, a veteran or a family member in need, contact Forcesline (which is confidential and independent from the chain of command) on 0800 260 6767 or use the live chat service at ssafa.org.uk/get-help/forcesline.
Forcesline is open Monday-Friday, 09:00-17:30.