SSAFA celebrates 30 years of work with the RAF

14 July 2020

In the midst of challenging times for the whole world, SSAFA is delighted to be celebrating the positive news of 30 years supporting the RAF community on base.

The 60 strong SSAFA team, headed up by Cathie Johnson, understands that military staff and families face some unique challenges such as regular deployments, having to live apart and frequent moves. The team provides comprehensive and confidential support, with a special focus on services for adults, but including children, young people and their families.

For anyone in the RAF, SSAFA Social Workers and Personal and Family Support Workers are there to help when times get tough. This can be support with stress, depression, difficult relationships, financial problems, resettlement, housing, childcare, equality issues, bereavement, military discharge or deployments. The SSAFA team can liaise with local authorities and services, whilst maintaining a client focused confidential service - operating outside of the normal RAF chain of command.

RAF Personal Support and Social Work Timeline

(if you need to zoom in - right click on the image and "Open in a new tab" from there you will be able to zoom in for a closer look)

Veteran Paula Finch served in the RAF from the 1980s. Now she works for SSAFA’s RAF Personal Support and Social Work Service, making sure those serving, and their families, get help when times are tough: “I think my service background has helped me to be more empathetic to the needs of service personnel and their families. I understand what it's like to be a single mum on deployment, I was in the Falklands when my daughter was just one year old. I understand the isolation. I married a service person, so I also understand what it's like to be that person who is left at home to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. My life experience in the service has made a massive difference to my role now, I really can empathise with the people I support. I feel like I am back with my military family and I’ve had feedback ‘she just gets it’, which shows I am doing something right!”

“This role is important as we are outside the chain of command and offer a confidential, non-judgmental service which gives them a space to talk about problems which they might not be able to talk to about with others. It’s crucial our service men and women have access to this support.”

SSAFA is extremely proud that, for the last 30 years, it has worked in partnership with the Royal Air Force to deliver personal support and social work to servicemen and women and their families. Our work has been essential in ensuring that RAF’s military personnel can fulfil their roles which, in turn, keep our Nation safe. For three decades, SSAFA staff have worked tirelessly to meet this remit, adapting as necessary, especially in recent months to maintain the service. As we move into our 31st year, I personally thank all those who provide this vital support; across SSAFA, we take great pride in the quality and professionalism of your activities.

- Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity

Please feel free to call our Forcesline if you need any support.

0800 260 6767

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Monday to Friday.