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Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help

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Address: 19 Queen Elizabeth Street / London / SE1 2LP / Tel: 0845 1300 975

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      30.07.2010 07:55
      Very helpful



      An excellent charity that provides valuable support to service personnel and their families

      A charity that is close to the hearts of both my husband and myself is SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association), whose professionally trained staff and volunteers assist and support those who currently serve in the Armed Forces and those who used to serve.

      Not only do the charity provide care and support for the service men and women, they can also be accessed by their families. According to statistics obtained by SSAFA, there are around 10 million people in the UK who could qualify for their valuable free of charge services.

      SSAFA was established over one hundred years ago and the charity provides an extremely valuable support service to those who experience problems. There is no time limit on how long a member has to serve before accessing the advice and support available.

      The continued hard work and commitment of those that work with SSAFA is extremely important to those seeking their services, particularly with the current high pressure military environment in which we live. They can offer support in a number of ways, such as financial, practical or emotional and I made a product suggestion to Dooyoo in order to provide you with a brief insight into the beneficial assistance that this wonderful charity can offer.

      The reason this charity is very important to both my husband and myself is that he had been a serving member of the Royal Navy and was involved in the Falklands conflict in 1982. I hadn't met my husband at that time, but have listened to the horrendous memories that are engrained in his brain forever, where he witnessed the loss of lives and horrific injuries of many of his close friends and work colleagues.

      When my husband left the Forces, he returned to his family home with his ex-wife and children, but several years later, he found himself homeless and extremely vulnerable due to physical disabilities sustained from a work-related accident. Unfortunately, I cannot go into detail as this is very personal to us, but I will say that SSAFA came to my husband's rescue and he spent a few months living in a hostel.

      I would point out at this stage, that whilst my husband is still very raw following his Naval service, he wished for me to write and post this review in order to provide valuable information to the readers of the beneficial services offered by SSAFA.

      The charity provided my husband with a caseworker who was able to offer advice and support and who liased with the relevant agencies in order to find him a safe and secure home. They also provided welfare support and ensured he was able to access the correct benefits. They sought and obtained funding from the Royal Navy Benevolent Fund, who supplied the basic necessities, such as a cooker, sofa and a bed; all of which were brand new.

      The services of SSAFA are invaluable to those who seek their help as they offer a wide range of support, such as a confidential free phone support line on 0800 731 4880, which is available between the hours of 10.30 am and 10.30 pm for 365 days of the year. They provide various Support Groups for families who have been bereaved and for service personnel who have been disabled.

      As in my husband's case, SSAFA can provide support and assistance with various housing issues and help ex-Service personnel to live independently and support them in their return to civilian life. They also offer holidays and activities to those families who have children with additional support needs and/or disabilities. It is often the case that without the support and assistance from SSAFA that these children would never have been able to enjoy such events.

      Whilst I will not go into lengthy detail regarding the housing support that SSAFA can offer, particularly as it is extensive, I would advise that they provide housing facilities for those service personnel who have been injured. Consequently, they can be reunited with their families in a suitable living environment. Priority is given to those who are rough sleeping, which is very often the case with ex-service personnel, where they are offered shelter, food and clothing.

      Whilst both my husband and I were aware of many of the services that SSAFA have to offer, I was surprised to learn that they are also a registered adoption agency and can help service families adopt a child.

      The work of SSAFA is only made possible through the generous donations that they receive, which can be made by post, phone, online via their website or by direct debit or payroll deduction. You can apply to become a volunteer where you will be fully trained to enable you to be part of an invaluable team.

      SSAFA's website provides an online shop, where you can purchase items such as teddy bears, shopping bags, mugs, umbrellas, tea shirts, wristbands and pens.

      I am of the opinion that without SSAFA my husband would not be here today, particularly as he was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) shortly after being discharged from the Royal Navy. The charity were able to put him in touch with the correct professionals and consequently, he was taught how to deal with his tragic memories.

      Despite the horrific experiences occurring some 28 years ago in 1982, the nightmares and images will never go away, but with the assistance provided by SSAFA, my husband has learned how to manage and cope with his feelings.

      Several years ago, I made a decision that I was no longer going to send dozens of Christmas cards to work colleagues, which would subsequently end up in the bin. Consequently, I decided to choose a different charity each year to send money in lieu of cards and I asked my work colleagues to participate.

      I have decided that SSAFA will now be the charity I will choose every year, as they are such a worthwhile cause and I am saddened that they have to rely on the generosity of the public in order to continue with their worthwhile support and assistance.

      It doesn't seem appropriate that I rate SSAFA, but for their continued hard work and their sheer dedication to help others, they receive 5 out of 5 dooyoo stars from me. For my information on the work of SSAFA and for details of the support they can provide, please see their website.

      I will be matching the money earned for this review and sending the money raised to SSAFA.

      Thanks for your support and thank you for reading.


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