SSAFA at work around Britain
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity is a lifeline, offering practical support to thousands of people across the UK, every year.
Their work is hugely varied and demonstrates the complexity of the challenges faced by military people and their families. Here’s a snapshot of some of the organisation’s innovative projects and services.
Norton House, Stanford Hall
Knowing that loved ones are close by and being looked after is vital to the recovery of injured personnel. SSAFA’s new ‘home way from home’ – Norton House, Stanford Hall supports the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC). This residential support offers families of wounded, sick and injured personnel the opportunity to spend time with the patient – away from the clinical environment.
The charity offers residential support to families of wounded, injured and sick personnel. It is a free “home away from home”, so loved ones can spend time with a patient away from the clinical environment.
Even though it only opened in early October, SSAFA is already providing support to those families needing to adjust to prior to a more permanent move back into their own homes or returning to their military role. ssafa.org.uk/stanford-hall
Supporting offenders and ex-offenders
Last year SSAFA helped 551 offenders, ex-offenders and family members – an increase of almost 100 from 2016. The charity believes that this rise is a result of a combination of more people being willing to come forward as the SSAFA service gets better known and increasing financial pressures experienced in today’s society.
SSAFA is not specifically there to reduce reoffending but they aim to remove barriers that are preventing rehabilitation. These barriers include those of addiction, debt and mental health. SSAFA continues to provide an “in-reach” programme, going into prisons to support offenders rather than waiting for them to leave the system.
Supporting Gurkhas within the UK is one of SSAFA’s newest services. This work can often be very complex, as it is often hampered by language difficulties as many Gurkhas only speak Nepali. The Gurkha community is also a unique, but sometimes isolated and one of SSAFA’s challenges is to reduce that.
Bringing in people with Gurkha experience has been key, both as SSAFA employees but also as volunteers as well.
Chandra Budathoki is an ex-Gurkha himself and has been helping people in similar situations to himself.
Chandra spent 14 years in the British Army and came to the UK in 2007, settling in Reading. After a trip to Nepal to bring his ill wife to the UK, his housing benefit was cut off and he fell into debt. After he worked through his difficulties, he signed up to volunteer for SSAFA. He recently helped a terminally ill veteran return to Nepal to be with his family and has helped SSAFA set up English language classes for the Gurkha community. He says: “Our support is hugely beneficial, helping them find jobs and for many it’s a reunion as they knew each other from their days in the British Army years ago.” ssafa.org.uk/gurkha-services
Supporting the Armed Forces family
It has become clear over more than 130 years of providing Forces support that everyone faces different challenges, so SSAFA uses a tailored approach to meet the needs of today’s serving community. Whether it’s practical, emotional and financial support – SSAFA is there to help the Armed Forces family every step of the way.