SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, is a UK charity that provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces and their families or dependents. Anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force and their families, both regulars and reserves, is eligible for their help.
|Founder||Major James Gildea|
|Headquarters||4 St Dunstan's Hill|
Chair of the Council of Trustees
|Lieutenant General Sir Gary Coward|
|Lieutenant-General Sir Andrew Gregory|
|Soldiers and Sailors Families Association (SSFA)|
SSAFA’s professional staff and network of 7,000 volunteers assist more than 90,000 people every year, from World War Two veterans to the families of young servicemen and women wounded or killed in Afghanistan.
SSAFA offers help and support to all serving and former members of all ranks of the Armed Forces, including:
- Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force
- Volunteer Reserve Forces, including Royal Navy Reserves, Royal Marine Reserves, Army Reserves and Royal Air Force Reserves
- Nursing services.
The following people are also eligible for SSAFA’s support:
Welfare advice and support
SSAFA offer welfare advice and support for serving personnel, veterans and their families through a worldwide network of volunteers. Branches in local communities provide help for veterans and their families and committees on military bases help serving families.
For currently serving personnel and their families
Support in service communities
Housing for wounded, injured and sick serving personnel and their families
SSAFA Norton Homes in Selly Oak, Birmingham, and Headley Court, Surrey provide home-from-home accommodation for families visiting wounded injured or sick service or ex-service personnel and outpatients. SSAFA also provides day-to-day management of Fisher House UK at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB).
Mentoring for injured, wounded or sick service leavers
SSAFA’s mentoring scheme was set up in 2011 and supports those transitioning out of the Army or RAF due to medical discharge. SSAFA’s volunteer mentors provide support to wounded, injured and sick service leavers through a long-term 'one-to-one' relationship that underpins the transition from the military. SSAFA Mentoring is nationally accredited by the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation.
Adoption for military families
Additional needs and disabilities support
Short breaks for children and young people from Forces families
Stepping Stone Homes for women and their children with a service connection
Stepping Stone Homes provide short-term supported accommodation, help and advice during difficult times. Female serving or ex-service personnel, or the female spouses and partners of serving or ex-service personnel, along with their dependent children are all eligible to stay there.
Professional health care
Personal support and social work for the RAF
Independent Service Custody Visiting
Support available to veterans and their families
SSAFA volunteers seek financial assistance for veterans to help maintain mobility and independence at home. Trained volunteers can help veterans get mobility equipment such as Electronically Powered Vehicles or mobility scooters, stair lifts, riser and recliner chairs.
Providing household goods
Support for homeless veterans
Support for offenders and ex-offenders
SSAFA can provide support for:
Glasgow's Helping Heroes
'Glasgow's Helping Heroes' is an award-winning service provided by SSAFA in partnership with Glasgow City Council for current and former members of the armed forces and their dependants or carers who live, work or wish to relocate there. Its dedicated team works with national and local government and third sector providers to resolve clients' employment, housing, health, financial and/or social isolation issues.
SSAFA provides support where it is needed in the UK and worldwide:
- The volunteer network reaches into every county of the UK and 13 countries around the world.
- Volunteers in more than 90 branches provide advice and support to veterans and their families living in local communities.
- Service Committees work on army garrisons, RAF stations and naval establishments with over 60 Committees across the UK and wherever the UK Armed Forces are based worldwide.
Structure and governance
SSAFA are governed by a board of Trustees who make and approve SSAFA policy. They oversee the Chief Executive Sir Andrew Gregory and his Executive team who together look after to day-to-day management of the charity.
SSAFA Trustees are all volunteers who contribute their time and expertise to the management of SSAFA. They have ultimate responsibility for directing SSAFA's affairs and ensuring the charity is solvent, well-run and meet objectives.
SSAFA’s charitable work is financed by contributions from benevolent funds, generous donations from members of the public and the profits generated by their Health and Social Care department who are contracted by the National Health Service and Ministry of Defence to provide direct support to serving personnel and their families in the UK and overseas.
James Gildea founded the Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association in 1885. In 1919, after the establishment of the Royal Air Force (in 1918), the organisation expanded support to become the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA). In 1997, SSAFA Forces Help was established when two charities, the "Forces Help Society" and "SSAFA", merged. On 10 April 2013, the charity's name changed to SSAFA as part of a rebranding aimed at improving awareness of the organisation's work amongst members of the armed forces community.
In Foyle's War series six, episode 3 ("All Clear"), Sam volunteers with SSAFA, at Foyle's suggestion.
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