Meet Mark Smith
Mark Smith was inspired to become a caseworker after he was supported himself by SSAFA after leaving the RAF.
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SSAFA beneficiary-turned-caseworker Mark Smith explains how SSAFA's support for him and his family inspired him to give back by becoming a volunteer and fundraiser.
'From a young child I was always fascinated with military life, in particular the Royal Air Force. I regularly attended air shows and other military themed events. Once I was old enough to join the Air cadets I did and spent many happy years experiencing some fantastic things, naturally this led to me enlisting with the Royal Air Force in 1999. In 2013 I found myself in a very difficult situation and I did not know where to turn. I was signposted to SSAFA by the Citizens advice bureau. SSAFA assigned a caseworker to me and we went through everything with him, after the visit I was left feeling like a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders, I finally had someone who understood my situation and felt reassured that he would do everything he could to help me and my family. After a few days SSAFA contacted me to say they had been granted the assistance I needed. I can remember the sense of relief we felt, it was the fresh start we desperately needed.
I never forgot the help SSAFA gave to me and my family, so in 2017 I held a Family Fun Day in aid of my local SSAFA division (Grimsby and Cleethorpes) the event helped raise awareness of SSAFA in our local area, we also raised £1429.95 for them on the day! You can see pictures of the Family Fun Day here.
Whilst arranging the Family Fun Day I was introduced to my Local SSAFA Divisional Secretary Mark Trainor who supported me with the event throughout. It was during this process that I got to learn more about SSAFA’s incredible history and its core values on which it was founded, all of which are still applied today! I really wanted to make a difference to other people in the same way SSAFA had helped me so we discussed how I could get involved with SSAFA in a more direct way. After many chats I made the decision to apply for a Volunteer Caseworker role. In January 2018 I attended and passed the caseworker training course in Hull.
I am now a Caseworker for the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Division of the Lincolnshire Branch. I am immensely proud to be a part of this organisation and the feeling of satisfaction you get when you contact your client to tell them you have successfully gained the assistance they need is something you just can’t get anywhere else! I am now looking forward to a long and rewarding future with SSAFA.