Big Brew Up !
Supporting SSAFA's work across Dorset
SSAFA in Dorset participated in the Big Brew Up ! event during what was one of the hottest weeks in June ! This did put Heather Baily, Dorset's Publicity Officer and committed baker under a bit of additional pressure ! She said..' having two ovens working when it was 24 degrees outside wasn't ideal, and that was at 6am ! My toppings were difficult to manage in the heat but thankfully the cakes were all delicious! I am really grateful to all the lovely team at Parkers Estate Agents in Poundbury who supported me again this year, see our picture of them all in their SSAFA T shirts. Also had fantastic support from the team at Dorset Cereals who are always keen to support local charities, their staff were literally waiting by the door for their cake delivery ! Also thanks to Waitrose in Poundbury who made a donation to the cost of the ingredients and to Matt Hughes, Manager of the Duchess of Cornwall in Poundbury who had our collection tin and leaflets on his bar for the duration of armed forces week. Thank you to everyone who supported us by buying cakes, you were magnificent !
The work of SSAFA volunteers in Poole and East Dorset.
Supporting our service veterans and their families.
The Poole and East Dorset team for SSAFA is headed by our divisional secretary, Stephenie Stockley. Stephenie currently has a team of seven established caseworkers together with a one further colleague currently undergoing training as well as two visitors. Covering the area of Poole and the eastern side of Dorset, the team are supporting a large number of clients whose ages range from 26 to those in their 90’s. Their needs vary enormously and Stephenie and her team offer confidential and bespoke support for everyone who seeks their help. Stephenie is a passionate advocate for mental health issues and she has utilised some of the funds raised through the SSAFA charity shop in Parkstone, to provide a one year gym membership for ten clients who are currently experiencing post traumatic stress disorder. This will provide them access to one of the Everyone Active gyms and allows them to reap the benefits of exercise as part of their recovery. For many clients, this has also provided a much needed boost to their self-confidence as well as the opportunity to meet others. Stephenie is also working with The Ripple Pond, a charity that supports the families of physically or emotionally injured service personnel and veterans. She is always looking to see how SSAFA can work with and complement the work of other similar charities to give the best possible support to those who need our support in her part of the county. The team are fortunate to have the use of a dedicated office in Church Road, Parkstone, just few doors down from our charity shop. If you would like to know more about the work of SSAFA in Poole and East Dorset or you would like to support our work in some way perhaps by becoming a volunteer with us, please do contact Stephenie and her team on Tel: 01202 742934 or email: email@example.com.
Working with Livability, Holton Lee, Dorset.
Supporting our younger veterans towards better mental health
SSAFA case workers in Dorset work with a wide range of clients who have served in our armed forces together with their partners and families. Many of those clients are younger veterans who, having left the services, are now experiencing a range of mental health problems including post-traumatic stress disorder – PTSD. One such client supported by a Dorset caseworker, has benefitted from attending the Woodland Wellbeing Project at Livability, Holton Lee. Livability is a charity which exists to tackle barriers in people’s lives that causes isolation whilst promoting inclusion and well-being for everyone they support. Set in 350 acres of beautiful Dorset countryside, the site at Holton Lee offers a wide range of therapeutic and creative experiences which increase overall mental well-being, reduce depression and anxiety and increases a sense of calm and social contact with others whilst providing some unique work and life skills. Our client attended the ten week course where participants go for one 6 hour day each week. The course offers the opportunity to work in a very beautiful, restful woodland setting learning new skills such as the traditional craft of coppicing, whittling wood and branches to make items such as cutlery and coat hangers, making and cooking on campfires, producing kindling, bean poles and besom brooms. The project also offers time either with others or alone to relax and reflect in the peaceful woodland setting. Our client really valued this time as his own away from his daily responsibilities and for the opportunity to re-integrate with people with whom he might not otherwise have come into contact. A valuable part of the course was the ability to be yourself and to have a safe place where you are supported on days when life is difficult or when anxiety takes hold. He is very complementary about the wonderful team ethos that exists at Holton Lee and how he found himself learning so much amongst staff with a wide range of skills and a really empathetic approach. He said of the staff, ‘… they are a team who make someone else look forward to tomorrow. So surround yourself with those who see the greatness in you, even if you don’t see it in yourself.’
As someone who enjoys cooking, our client became the woodland chef, cooking for the group. He very much enjoyed the opportunity to learn a wide range of new skills including making charcoal which was used to cook meals. He also enjoyed the one-to-one time with staff members who were able to share with him, their knowledge and experience of woodlands and trees and how we can best make use of those natural resources. One of his most pleasant memories of time at Holton Lee was sitting alone, enjoying the peacefulness of the surroundings and watching and listening to a woodpecker in the trees above him. He also valued the opportunity to contribute to other courses being run at the centre such as helping to prepare part of the site for a dementia group. SSAFA case workers are always looking for practical ways to support their clients and the course run at Holton Lee offer a unique and valuable way of supporting those who are experiencing PTSD. We are hugely grateful to all the team at Livability Holton Lee for working with us to support this particular client who felt he gained significant benefits from attending the project. He summed up his feelings about the project in the following words……’ No matter how long you have travelled in the wrong direction, you can always turn around. Remember the only impossible journey is the one you never begin.’
For more information about Livability go to: http://www.livability.org.uk
A wonderful evening to look forward to Saturday 14th April 2018
An evening with Dorset Police Male Voice Choir
We're delighted to be spending an evening with Dorset Police Male Voice Choir who will be performing at the Coade Theatre, Bryanston School in Blandford in aid of SSAFA Dorset on Saturday 14th April 2018. Watch this space for more details in due course but one which you might want to get in your diary early on. Tickets on sale at the end of February.
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.
SSAFA volunteers working in Purbeck, Dorset.
The district of Purbeck which includes Swanage, Wareham and Studland is covered by our fantastic team led by Robin Gainsford. Robin’s caseworkers are experienced in their roles with SSAFA but also bring a wealth of professional skills from their former paid roles, such as policing, the military, Royal Navy, NHS and working for the Citizen Advice Bureau. Meeting Robin and his team you are immediately struck by both the warmth of their welcome, the passion they display for their roles and their team endeavour. They have been particularly successful in resolving some of the more intractable problems encountered by our veterans such as helping them to successfully find their way through local council bureaucracy in housing and benefit claims and appeals or in resolving issues relating to in- service pensions. Case workers require good listening skills, tenacity to work their way through difficult issues especially in making benefit related claims and an understanding for the position of those they help. This team has those skills in huge quantities and they work together to help each other with the more unusual or difficult problems. They also have good working relationships with other local agencies who offer assistance such as Citizen Advice, which complements their case work. They very much value the fact that they work as a team and support each other. If you live in or near the Purbeck District and think you might like to join this team, we would love to hear from you. Caseworkers need good people skills, time to dedicate to meeting their clients and supporting their cases, good IT skills and a practical, caring outlook. If this sounds like you, please do get in touch. Robin Gainsford can be contacted on 01929 471419 if you would like to talk about our volunteering roles in Purbeck.