Supporting the military community during COVID-19, How SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has adapted for business as usual
As the UK’s oldest, national, tri-service charity, SSAFA is no stranger to adapting to change.
Having existed through six monarchies to date, weathered two World Wars and countless conflicts, COVID-19 is one more chapter in a legacy of resilience.
Even during this pandemic, SSAFA is doing everything possible to continue delivering this vital support whilst ensuring that teams of volunteers, staff and, most importantly, beneficiaries remain protected.
• Our Mentors, helping those transitioning out of the Armed Forces, are busier than ever, as the society that recent service leavers are re-joining is more difficult to navigate than ever under these circumstances.
• Operating as our ‘front door’, is our confidential helpline ‘Forcesline’. While our team of advisors now work entirely remotely, they continue to provide an uninterrupted telephone, email and webchat facility.
• On the ground, our UK-wide branch network continues to support at a local level. Conversations are happening using intranet, Skype, Microsoft Teams, email and phone to ensure that we can achieve this without face-to-face meetings. Locally, our younger volunteers are on hand to support the community with tasks such as shopping and collecting medicine, as well as being available for phone calls to check in on the vulnerable and isolated members of the military community.
• Alongside this, we are keeping as many of our residential facilities open, whilst our unique Adoption service has introduced virtual Adoption assessment panels for future adoptive military couples. Glasgow Helping Heroes (our facility in central Glasgow run in partnership with Glasgow City Council) continues to provide critical support to vulnerable veterans and their families. SSAFA’s Health care and Social Work staff are providing critical support to servicemen and women – and their families, in Germany, North West Europe, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Brunei, Canada, the Falkland Islands and on all United Kingdom Royal Air Force stations.
Encouraging members of the Forces community in need to come forward for support, Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity (pictured above) said:
“Despite a concerning climate, the men and women who make up the beating heart of our charity are rallying to ensure that support is given to anyone in need. A sense of community spirit and collective grit has shone through – and I have heard this likened to the sentiments felt by the Nation during the Blitz.
“I urge anyone from the military community in need of SSAFA’s support to come forward, we were there then and we are here now. Being socially distanced does not mean that you are on your own.”
If you, or someone you know from the military community, is in need of SSAFA’s support, contact Forcesline on 0800 731 4880 or head to ssafa.org.uk/forcesline.