Support our armed forces veterans

South Ayrshire has a proud history of supporting the Armed Forces
South Ayrshire has a proud history of supporting the Armed Forces

This January SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is urging the people of Ayrshire to give something back to their local Armed Forces by becoming a new volunteer.

In 2016, volunteers for SSAFA Ayrshire supported 274 veterans and their families in need in the county. The military charity, which has supported currently serving members of our Armed Forces, veterans and their families for over 131 years, is seeing the requests for support from this group increase and become more complex.

SSAFA Ayrshire operates volunteer led support services based in Prestwick with a county-wide need for new volunteer caseworkers who directly deliver the support.

SSAFA volunteer caseworkers support members of the Armed Forces community in a range of ways, including:

Visiting them in their homes, assessing their needs and building a bespoke package of support.

Providing support with issues such as – mobility, home repairs, household goods, homelessness, marriage breakdown, mental health problems, urgent debt support, essential food and groceries and clothing and training costs to help younger veterans back into work.

Accessing funds for house adaptations for a service man or woman injured whilst fighting for their country.

Befriending elderly veterans and providing them with some much-needed company and happiness to combat loneliness and isolation.

Raising the rent for a young veteran unemployed and struggling to transition from military life to civilian life.

Former teacher Pam Reynolds has been a SSAFA volunteer caseworker for more than seven years. Pam says: “I have volunteered for SSAFA for more than seven years and they have flown by. I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people while working with the charity and love the work we do. It’s the satisfaction of seeing a person in need; go from sometimes dire circumstances, through to getting back on their feet and living the life they deserve.

“For me, especially since retiring from the education sector, volunteering has given me new life and energy and I am keeping fit and my mind active as a result, all whilst supporting the Armed Forces community with the work of the charity. I simply love it and it gives me a chance to continue to use my professional skills and those gained in my personal life – I don’t intend to get bored in my retirement!

If you are interested in joining your local SSAFA Ayrshire team, please visit www.ssafa.org.uk/newrecruits or call 0800 032 5612.

In a recent survey of SSAFA volunteers in 2016, the charity reports that:

95 per cent of its volunteers are proud to tell people they volunteer for SSAFA.

93 per cent of its volunteers enjoy their volunteer work and feel their role allows them to make use of their skills and experience.

More than half of its volunteers (52 per cent) have volunteered for the charity for more than five years and more than one in four (27 per cent) have volunteered for the charity for more than 10 years.

Sue Pillar, SSAFA Director of Volunteer Operations and former Army Lieutenant Colonel said: “SSAFA predicts that the welfare needs of the Armed Forces community in Ayrshire will continue to rise. World War Two veterans are now well into their 90s and the impact of conflicts such as the Falklands, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan on our younger veterans and their families continue to reveal themselves.