Afghanistan veteran with medals and child

Volunteering for SSAFA

Publicity Officer Andrew shares his story

5 June 2015

Volunteering for SSAFA

Andrew is a businessman who spent 12 years in the Royal Navy, he volunteers for SSAFA as a Publicity Officer, it's his job to make sure people in his local area know all about SSAFA. To celebrate National Volunteers Week Andrew tells us his volunteer story.

There are more than 7,000 SSAFA volunteers of all ages and backgrounds out there making a difference to our Armed Forces and veteran community, and I am proud to be one of them.

I had joined the Royal Navy straight from school and had spent the next 12-years having a fantastic time before deciding that the time was right to move on to a second career in business.

As social media has become a daily part of our modern lives then I had found myself back in touch with a variety of shipmates from back in the day! We immediately picked up where we had left off with the years since our last meeting not even a factor, you just clicked. Looking back through slightly rose tinted glasses I realised that my time in the military had been responsible for shaping me into the person that I am today. For me military life had been massively positive and the achievement of boyhood dreams but as a 40-something reflecting on the world as it is today; it’s clear that not everybody else always has the same positive experience after leaving their military families behind.

I had stumbled across an advertisement by SSAFA looking for volunteers and so it made perfect sense to offer some time to SSAFA to see if I could help.

After meeting with my local Divisional Secretary and the Branch Secretary it became clear that they needed some help with raising the profile and awareness of SSAFA locally and so I found myself taking on a publicity role. Since then we have been working hard on building a social media network to compliment the more traditional PR routes. We now have a growing twitter network (@SSAFASurrey) along with a new Facebook presence and website and alongside this we are currently focussing on preparations for National Armed Forces Day which this year takes place in Guildford on 27th June where we will be supporting The Big Brew Up.

Working with SSAFA has been great so far; a huge variety of people and personalities all motivated to try and help others. There are some interesting challenges ahead as SSAFA continues to evolve as the world around us changes but great people with all sorts of skills will always be needed.

There are lots of ways to get involved and help out, whether you want to raise awareness or money; help people in your community face-to-face or from behind the scenes. If you want to make a difference to our Forces family then volunteering for SSAFA is the way to do it.