New volunteers are needed to help SSAFA, the armed forces charity, which has seen an increase in need for support across Bedfordshire.
The charity is launching an appeal in the county to find new recruits to join its ranks of dedicated volunteers.
The charity’s network of volunteers support serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families. The increase in need for support is partly down to the ageing population of the UK and an increase in younger veterans from more recent conflicts, and their families, coming forward for help.
SSAFA is the oldest national military charity in the UK, supporting 55,000 people in the Armed Forces community each year and in Bedfordshire, SSAFA has two divisions in the north and south.
Volunteer case workers support members of the armed forces community in a range of ways, including:
Visiting them in their homes, assessing their needs
Assisting with house adaptations for a service man or woman injured whilst fighting for their country
Raising the rent for a young veteran unemployed and struggling to transition from military life to civilian life
Befriending a lonely, elderly veteran and providing them with some much-needed company
Support with issues such as homelessness, marriage breakdown, debt and mental health problems.
Sue Pillar, SSAFA director of volunteer operations and former Army Lieutenant Colonel, said: “In Bedfordshire not only have we seen the needs of the local armed forces community increase significantly, but their welfare needs have become more complex. As a result we desperately need more local volunteers to help.
“SSAFA predicts that the welfare needs of this community will continue to grow as World War Two veterans are now well into their 90s. At the same time, the impact of recent conflicts on our younger veterans and their families continues to reveal itself.
“If we take a moment to think about the courage shown and the sacrifices made by our armed forces whilst serving our country, it is shocking that we still see veterans of all ages, and their families, struggling.
“SSAFA is looking for anyone willing to help provide a lifeline to veterans and their families who are in need. Men and women who have served with our armed forces have given so much through service, and their families have supported them through their careers; it’s now up to us to support them when they need us.”
If you are interested in joining your local SSAFA team contact SSAFA on 0845 658 1167 or visit www.ssafa.org.uk/newrecruits