army dad holding his young daughter with his wife standing by his side, all smiling


We can Help

Support for the armed forces in Dorset

We help veterans and service personnel, and their families, in the local community and we rely on public donations to continue our work. Our commitment is to provide support with experienced, non-judgemental and friendly advice, as well as a variety of practical services which cover a range of social, family and financial issues.

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Local branch contact details

Contact Details


Phone: 01202 742934

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  • Looking for new volunteers to work in our charity shop in Poole.

    Raising valuable funds for our work across Dorset.

    The only SSAFA charity shop in the UK is located in Church Road, Parkstone, Poole. Staffed by a wonderful team of volunteers, the shop is open 6 days a week, every morning and some afternoons. The shop receives a good range of quality donations of ladies, men's and children's clothes, accessories, toys and items for the home. We would like to open the shop into every afternoon but need new volunteers to help us staff longer opening hour. We are looking for people who are able to help sort donations, create attractive shop displays, handle money and help customers and work as part of a team. Perhaps you and a friend might want to come and work together for a dew hours each week ? We are very happy to offer the opportunity to come and see whether this might be the role for you by working with us for a few hours to experience working in the shop. If you would are interested to know more about working in our shop please get in tough either by leaving your contact details at the shop or email our Branch Secretary, Tony Erwood:

  • Supporting veterans in the criminal justice system.

    Our North Dorset Team.

    John Barrett leads our wonderful team in North Dorset covering the areas around Blandford, Shaftesbury and Gillingham. John’s team of caseworkers support veterans and their families in their local area as well as supporting veterans in the criminal justice system who are serving custodial sentences at either Guys Marsh or Portland prisons, as well as the soon to be re-opened HMP The Verne. Known as Prison In Reach (PIR) caseworkers, these colleagues offer practical support to those veterans who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. Importantly they also offer support to the families of veterans in custody. The North Dorset Team support around 80 cases per year of which on average, 10 will involve veterans serving custodial sentences.
    Every case will be different but PIR caseworkers will offer practical support and advice to those in custody to help them through their time in detention and then plan for their release. This will involve working with prison and probation staff to help find accommodation, gain employment and training opportunities and practical support around their health and resettlement needs. Support for veterans on release is really important especially where they have limited or no family ties. Supporting these individuals to re-build their lives again is a crucial part of what John’s PIR caseworkers do. If a veteran is settling in another location, SSAFA Dorset will contact the relevant team covering that area to ensure that a local PIR caseworker is on hand to continue the support offered.
    There is a network of 127 PIR caseworkers across the country, supported by a Veteran In Reach team at Central Office. John Barrett, a very experienced SSAFA member, is also the PIR Co ordinator for all South West England. It is estimated that somewhere between 3.5% and 7% of the current prison population may be former military personnel so the need is very real both for these individual and their families.
    The North Dorset Team also have a close working relationship with the Blandford In Service Team based at Blandford Camp. This team support serving military personnel and their families who are based at Blandford. Vicki Hawtree leads this team. (Please see SSAFA Blandford Camp Facebook page for more details about this team.)

  • SSAFA volunteers working in Weymouth and Portland

    Our caseworkers in Weymouth and Portland

    Maureen Sherren leads our fabulous team of six caseworkers who cover the area of Weymouth and Portland. Maureen recently took over the role from Derek Hope who had been the Divisional Secretary with the team for more than four years. Derek was a wonderful team leader and very passionate about supporting those people from Weymouth and Portland who sought our help. He has now moved to another part of the country and is still involved with SSAFA and we are really grateful to him for his time, energy and commitment.
    Maureen and her husband Dan, (a trainee caseworker with the team,) both served with the Royal Navy and the majority of the caseworkers within Maureen’s team come from a military background with most being former Royal Navy personnel. The team have an office at Pilgrim House, Hope Square in Weymouth where they meet each Tuesday and Maureen is very happy to meet personally with anyone wanting more information or advice about the support on offer, if they wish to call in on Tuesday mornings between 10am and 1pm.
    In common with other teams across Dorset, the Weymouth and Portland team are currently helping a wide range of ex service personnel and their family members who have sought help from SSAFA. Their clients are both men and women and come from a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Everyone who seeks help receives friendly and non-judgemental advice and support from experienced caseworkers.
    One of the more frequent issues that case workers deal with are problems concerning housing, for example where clients are struggling to pay their rents and need to move somewhere more affordable, or because they have lost their homes for some reason. The team have strong connections with the local authority housing team as well as other organisations who support those needing this type of support. Helping veterans who are homeless is a key priority and the team have worked closely with Alabare, a Christian care and support charity that works specifically to support those who are vulnerable, in need of support or who may have been marginalised in some way. The charity has a dedicated housing for veterans scheme which offers provision in Weymouth. The Charity supports veterans by helping them to rebuild confidence and health and equips them with the necessary skills to live fulfilled and independent lives. They offer bespoke support for each person, helping them to tackle the issues which led to them becoming homeless, providing access to training for work or just basic life skills such as healthy eating and managing budgets, so that they can live independently. The charity also supports veteran to move on into new permanent homes at an appropriate time, with on-going support in the first few months.
    Debt and financial problems is another common issue faced by SSAFA clients. The team have forged good links with a range of charities and organisations who can assist such as Step Change and the Citizens Advice Bureau. Caseworkers understand the stress and worry that financial problems bring and help their clients to access all of the available support to help them find a realistic way of resolving their difficulties.
    Many veterans also struggle with mental health issues and caseworkers are seeing younger former service men and women who are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Again, caseworkers provide empathetic and practical support to help veterans access the full range of support that is available locally.
    So if you need the support of the SSAFA team at Weymouth and Portland or know someone who might benefit from their help, please contact the team on 01305 458487. An answerphone service for out of hours is regularly monitored. Similarly, if you work with an organisation that could work collaboratively to support veterans in the Weymouth and Portland area, Maureen would be very happy to hear from you.
    There will be several opportunities to meet members of the Weymouth and Portland team later this summer, both at the Weymouth Armed Forces Weekend on 23rd and 24th June and later in the year at the Portland Southwell Village Fayre on Saturday 4th August. There will be further details in our events section shortly.
    SSAFA is also looking for new volunteers to fill the role of caseworker, as a visitor or to support fundraising. If you would like to know more about working with the Weymouth and Portland team, please call Maureen Sherren on 01305 458487 or email her:

  • A welcome to Dorset SSAFA from Chair, Sally Cadec

    Welcome to our county page, I am Sally Cadec and I am the Chair of the Dorset Branch of SSAFA. I have a wonderful team of volunteers who do some amazing work across the county every day, working with our veterans and their families to support them through difficult times. I hope you will find the stories and photographs on this page interesting and that they give you a better insight into what we do. If you would like to know how we might help someone who would benefit from our assistance or you would like to join our team, please get in touch. We'd be delighted to hear from you. Thank you, Sally.

  • Looking for new volunteers to join our wonderful team.

    Could you help our veterans ?

    Caseworkers are at the heart of our work and Dorset are looking for determined volunteers passionate about giving back to our Armed Forces and their families.
    Finances, mental well-being and difficulty dealing with personal affairs are some of the greatest challenges faced by veterans and their loved ones. Our Caseworkers are there to provide the guidance and support needed to tackle these issues head on, making a real difference to everyday lives.
    Be a veteran’s hero. Join SSAFA as a volunteer today:

  • Veteran Cherries - working with Bournemouth FC Community Sports Trust

    Supporting veterans and their families.

    Veteran Cherries is a new initiative being run by Bournemouth FC Community Sports Trust with the support of SSAFA, Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust, Royal British Legion, Pilgrim Bandits and Bournemouth War Memorial Homes. Launched earlier this year, the initiative aims to provide support for veterans with different practical activities which assist in gaining qualifications and volunteering opportunities to assist with the transition back to civilian life and gaining new employment. The initiative also offers the opportunity to take part in sporting and fitness activities to assist with overall well being and tackle loneliness for those who find themselves on their own. For further information about the initiative contact Hannah Powis Disability Inclusion Officer at Bournmouth FC Trust on 073993 462166 or or through the Head of Community, Steve Cuss at