Mark Smith was inspired to become a caseworker after he was supported himself by SSAFA after leaving the RAF.
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"From a young age, I was always fascinated with military life, in particular the Royal Air Force. I joined the Air Cadets as soon as I was old enough and loved it. I enlisted with the Royal Air Force in 1999 but in 2013 I found myself in a very difficult situation. I did not know where to turn. I was eventually signposted to SSAFA by the Citizens Advice Bureau. SSAFA assigned a caseworker to me and we went through everything with him.
"After the visit with the SSAFA volunteer, I felt like a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I finally had someone who understood my situation and I felt reassured that he would do everything he could to help me and my family.
"A few days later, SSAFA contacted me to say they had been granted the assistance I needed. I can remember the sense of relief we felt. It was the fresh start we desperately needed.
"I never forgot the help SSAFA gave to me and my family, so in 2017 I held a Family Fun Day in aid of my local SSAFA division (Grimsby and Cleethorpes) to raise awareness of SSAFA in our local area. We also raised £1430 for them on the day!
"Whilst arranging the Family Fun Day I was introduced to my Local SSAFA Divisional Secretary, Mark Trainor, who supported me with the event throughout. It was during this process that I got to learn more about SSAFA's incredible history and the core values on which it was founded, all of which are still applied today.
"I really wanted to make a difference to other people in the same way SSAFA had helped me, so we discussed how I could get involved with SSAFA in a more direct way. After many chats, I made the decision to apply for a Volunteer Caseworker role. In January 2018 I attended and passed the caseworker training course in Hull.
"I am now a Caseworker for the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Division of the Lincolnshire Branch. I am immensely proud to be a part of this organisation and the feeling of satisfaction you get when you contact your client to tell them you have successfully gained the assistance they need is something you just can’t get anywhere else! I am now looking forward to a long and rewarding future with SSAFA."