SSAFA, The Armed Forces Charity, is delighted to have been chosen as the Mayor’s Charity for this year. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families’ Association, as it was then, was founded in 1885 to support the families of those servicemen heading to Khartoum with the 2nd Expeditionary Force and The Countess Stanhope of Chevening was President of the Sevenoaks Division. It’s a long time ago but we are proud that our SSAFA volunteers in West Kent continue that tradition of support for those that have served and their families.
So much has changed for the better within the armed forces environment in the intervening years such as the introduction of military pensions, compensation for injury, family housing, the NHS, statutory benefits. But much remains the same – the stress of injury be that physical or mental, homelessness, the downward spiral of addiction, family separation and breakdown or just not being able to cope. Anyone who has received a full day’s pay from the armed forces is eligible for support from our volunteer caseworkers who will work on a one to one basis to support that person and their family during a time of need. We may not be able to solve all the issues directly – we cannot offer medical, legal or financial advice and nor do we have housing – but we will work to find answers with the other service charities, local authorities, our CAB debt advice and the NHS to try and find the best solution for an individual’s situation.
We hope this year as the Mayor’s charity will enable us to help more members of the military family by raising awareness of what we can do, but also promote The Armed Forces Charity to those who would like to volunteer with us to help those servicemen and women, veterans, reservists and their families who feel vulnerable perhaps out of step in the civilian world, and are seeking help.
The charity has teams of volunteer caseworkers throughout the country and we have nine in Kent, including our West Kent Division which embraces the area from the Surrey, Sussex and London borders to the edge of Maidstone with Sevenoaks at its heart. If you need help, would like to volunteer in any capacity or can offer support in any way, please do contact Margaret Wood, Branch Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org, see the website www.ssafa.org.uk or call on 01622 792 363.