SSAFA provides lifelong support to men and women in the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the British Army and the Royal Air Force, and their families. We also work with veterans of all ages to help them settle into life and work outside the Forces.
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Founded in 1885, we are the oldest national charity supporting the three Armed Forces, and we are immensely proud of our history. But we know that times are changing, along with the needs of our beneficiaries.
As needs change, we will adapt and improve our services to make sure the people we support get the help they need, now and in the future.
Who we help
Our support covers both regulars and reserves in the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the British Army and the Royal Air Force and their families, including anyone who has completed National Service. They are all entitled to lifelong support from SSAFA, no matter how long they have served.
Our recent research shows that service leavers aged 25-64 need more specialised support. The challenges they face are complex – from low income to life-changing injuries or hidden wounds, like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Armed with this information, we are improving our services for younger, working-age veterans, and we will make sure they know we’re here when they need us.
What makes us unique?
The needs of serving men and women and of veterans are becoming more diverse as the world and military landscape changes. So we work hard to make sure our services are flexible. We constantly adapt them to fit with people we support and what they need. This means we can offer everyone we work with a range of tailored services to help them navigate life in and beyond the military.
SSAFA works in partnership with other military charities and specialist organisations to ensure that those who turn to us for help get the support they need.
Welfare advice and support
Addiction, relationship breakdown, debt or homelessness. Whatever challenges they’re facing, the Armed Forces community can rely on SSAFA and our volunteers to help them through it. Our network of over 6,000 committed volunteers worldwide offer welfare support for people from throughout the military community, from Second World War veterans to the families of young service personnel wounded in Afghanistan. Our network of branches provide help for veterans and their families in the community. Our service volunteers work on military bases to help families meet the challenges of service life.
Health & Social Care services
Our professional staff give direct support to serving personnel and their families in the UK and overseas through contracts to the NHS and Ministry of Defence. Our doctors, nurses, midwives and social workers deliver health and community care for British Forces worldwide.
Armed Forces families face unique challenges and so it is important that we provide services that address their specific needs. These services address a variety of unique welfare needs and issues experienced by military families:
- A mentoring service for service leavers and their families returning to civilian life
- The Military Wives Choirs Foundation that brings Forces women together through singing.
What we do continued
Services for children
Armed Forces families can find it difficult to access the services they need because they move so often. Our staff and volunteers are here to help with:
- Support for families with additional needs and disabilities, including short breaks for children and a forum so parents can share information and advice
- SSAFA’s Adoption service helps military families who would like to adopt but face the challenge of relocating regularly. We place 20 children every year
Our accomodation meets the different needs of the serving and veterans communities:
- Norton Homes provides free accommodation for the families of service men and women receiving long-term medical treatment
- Short-term accommodation at our Stepping Stone homes is free of charge for women and children experiencing relationship breakdown
- Accomodation for veterans with disabilities is available at St Vincent's care home, the Royal Homes in Wimbledon and 36 bungalows
Through our charitable services, health and social care contracts and specialist services, we helped and supported over 67,000 people worldwide in 2016.
How we're run
Where we are
- Our volunteer network reaches into every county of the UK and 10 countries around the world
- Volunteers in our 92 branches provide advice and support to veterans and their families living in local communities
- Our service committees work on Army garrisons, RAF stations and Naval establishments with 68 committees across the UK and wherever our Forces are based worldwide
Our health care and social work services support the Armed Forces community in 10 countries including the UK.
How we fund our work
Our charitable work is financed by contributions from benevolent funds, generous donations from members of the public and the profits generated by our Health and Social Care department who are contracted by the NHS and Ministry of Defence to provide direct support to serving personnel and their families in the UK and overseas.
Find more detail about how we fund our services in our reports and publications.