Tony has no military background but that hasn’t held him back when dealing with veterans. “You deal with a whole variety of different issues which makes it a very rewarding role,” he explains.
Sign up for our email newsletter to get our latest news in your inbox
Tony started looking for a voluntary role after taking early retirement and discovered caseworking after a visit to his local volunteer bureau in Horsham. “I went to see SSAFA’s divisional secretary who explained what it was all about and I thought it sounded interesting so I signed up for the training. That was in 2004!" says Tony. "One of the reasons why I was particularly attracted to the role was the flexibility it offered. I didn’t want to commit to being in a set place at a set time every week so caseworking really appealed. I can arrange to see clients at a time to suit me. As everything is computerised now it is also easy to do the paperwork in your own time.
“Another thing which is really important to me is that when you get a client, you are responsible for seeing that case through to the end whatever the outcome might be. I get a lot of job satisfaction from that.
"In other volunteer roles you might never know the outcome or see the difference you have made to the client."
“As a caseworker you never feel like you are on your own. You work within a branch or division and there is always support there if you need it and also from the staff at SSAFA Central Office.”
Tony recently assisted a veteran in his 30s who needed a new career after leaving the military. Tony was able to secure funding for the veteran to retrain for a new job. “It was a huge change of direction for him and he was really appreciative of what I was able to do which was very rewarding,” smiles Tony.
Now the Divisional Secretary of the Horsham Division of SSAFA, Tony is hopeful he can encourage a new wave of volunteers to make a difference, just as the Divisional Secretary did for him on his first visit some 15 years ago.