The support of charitable trusts, foundations and individuals who make significant gifts ensures that we can continue to provide our vital projects and services.
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How your gift will make an impact
The long-term effect on those who have so loyally and courageously served in recent conflicts, and those who continue to serve, is yet to be fully understood – as is the impact on their families and family life. Bereavement, illness and life changing injuries, both physical and psychological, are complex issues and the long term consequences are enormous.
We cannot fix every problem but what we can do is ensure each and everyone one of our Forces family has the best possible chance of coping with whatever challenges come their way.
Support for our projects and services
Our 130 years of experience means we have the expertise and knowledge to provide that support and our wide range of projects and specialist services have been developed to ensure whatever the need, we have a solution.
Of course, we can not do all that we do without the generous support of our donors, especially the charitable trusts, foundations and individuals who make significant gifts in support of our vital projects and services.
Your gift will help enable us continue to provide life long support to our Forces family – whatever the need.
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Joint Case Studies
ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and SSAFA:
SSAFA’s Welfare Advice and Support service provides personalised face-to-face support to members of the Armed Forces community, delivered through a network of casework volunteers based in 91 branches across the UK.
Collaborative working with other military charities is vital to ensure beneficiaries receive the best possible support. We are immensely proud of our long-standing partnership with ABF The Soldiers’ Charity which ensures members of the Army community are helped in their hour of need.
The four examples below illustrate how SSAFA and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity work together to provide direct support to members of the Army community in need.
- Joseph Connor
Joseph Connor, aged 93, is a WWII veteran. He was a driver in the Reconnaissance Corps and was involved in frontline action throughout the war. He lives alone and independently at home in Glasgow but suffers with some mobility problems. His house is part of a terraced row that has a raised front court with four steps from the public pavement. He therefore had to negotiate the steps down to the pavement to his car and his scooter had to be stored in a lock up a few streets away. This was becoming increasingly difficult for Joseph to manage physically, especially during the winter.
Joseph got in touch with his local SSAFA branch and was visited by a SSAFA volunteer Caseworker in his home. The Caseworker sourced funding from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity* for the construction of a new driveway so that Joseph can park his car and mobility scooter directly outside his house. This has significantly improved access to his car and mobility scooter, allowing Joseph to make more trips out and ensuring that his independence has not suffered. Joseph has said ‘it’s amazing... whilst my mobility is decreasing, to have access to my car and scooter, that’s my lifeline to the outside world’.
*With thanks to the Trustees of Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Charities (Limited)
2. Nigel O’Keefe
Nigel joined the Welsh Guards at the age of 17 and a half and had his 19th birthday aboard a troop carrier on the way over to the Falkland Islands in 1982. Having experienced some harrowing hand-to-hand fighting during the war, Nigel says he ‘blanked’ his experiences at first, but as he grew older they ‘started eating away at me’. For many years, Nigel masked his mental health issues with alcohol, resulting in him losing his job and his family.
Following the intervention of a SSAFA volunteer caseworker, in January 2017, ABF the Soldiers’ Charity provided Nigel with a grant of £1,500 towards kitchen equipment and furnishings for his flat. He is now working on repairing his relationships with his family and has undertaken an alcohol detox course. He says that his “life now seems to be getting lighter, you know? Brighter. Because I was alive in a really dark world not too long ago”.
3 Sid Sallis
The last surviving Royal Army Service Corps Air Despatcher to serve in the Arnhem campaign, 94-year-old Sid Sallis joined up in 1942 and first served as driver prior to joining the 1st Airborne Division. A knee injury sustained in the boxing ring put him in bed for a week, thus leaving him out of action for the Normandy landings.
Disappointed on missing D-Day, Sid joined the 1st Airborne Division’s 63 Squadron and just a few months later, he found himself flying over Arnhem dropping supplies to the British Paratroops on the ground. “We lost 19 men just on the first day,” he said. “I was really lucky – in the RAF Stirlings, there was a big hole in the floor, so it was one false move and you were out!” Referring to the considerable anti-aircraft fire over Arnhem, Sid says, “The Germans were all around us during the drop and although we couldn’t see them, they could see us!”
Sid served a total of five years, including a spell in a peace-keeping force in Palestine after the war, but it is his experiences at Arnhem that have stayed with him. He and his family return to Arnhem every September and stay with the same Dutch family. “I wouldn’t miss it,” he said.
When he needed to move into a care home in England following a period of ill health in 2015, Sid’s family approached SSAFA. A local SSAFA volunteer caseworker secured funds from the Royal Logistic Corps and from ABF the Soldiers’ Charity to top up his care home fees. Sid’s daughter-in-law said: “We are really very grateful . . . it has made a huge difference.”
4 Ken Taylor
Ken Taylor served with 6th/7th The Queen’s Regiment (Territorial Army) in the 1980s, leaving in 1990. Ken, now 56, was part of the clear up operation following the Great Storm of 1987 and spent more than a week in hospital when a tree fell on him, fracturing his skull.
After suffering a serious stroke three years ago Ken found himself struggling to get out of his own home and feeling increasingly isolated. A SSAFA volunteer caseworker arranged for Ken to have an electric wheelchair giving him a newfound freedom.
Ken, a former lorry driver, lay undiscovered for three days when he fell ill in December 2015. When he eventually got to hospital doctors had to remove part of his skull to ease the pressure on his brain and he was also left paralysed down his left side.
He said: “I had been doing a part time job in Tesco and was feeling really tired but I couldn’t sleep so I had given my notice in. On my last day I wasn’t feeling too good and had called in sick. I remember thinking about going to bed on the Saturday and the next thing I knew I was waking up on the floor on Tuesday morning with the landlord trying to break into the flat.
“I remember hearing my phone going but I couldn’t get hold of it. My daughter was trying to call me and she had asked the landlord to check up on me. He had managed to get a little window open and had slid the curtain aside enough to see me lying on the floor. He called for an ambulance.”
After spending almost a year in hospital, Ken moved into a new home in Haywards Heath but was unable to get out and about in his manual wheelchair. He is still waiting for reconstructive surgery on his skull and in the meantime, he wears a hard hat to protect his head.
“The Stroke Association got in touch with SSAFA to see if there was anything they could do and A SSAFA caseworker came round to see me,” said Ken. “He has been on my case ever since! I thought I needed a ‘befriender’ as I was stuck in the flat and feeling pretty isolated. He came round for a chat and he said what you need is a powered wheelchair so you can get out! As things were, I had to wait for someone to come round just to push me out onto my own balcony.”
The caseworker secured £1,800 funding for an electric wheelchair for Ken with contributions coming from The Stroke Association, Independence at Home, ABF – The Soldiers Charity and the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment. Ken said: “Peter has been a guardian angel! This chair has really made my life so much easier. I can get up to the local shop now and get things I need, have a chat. Peter also contacted my old regiment for me so now I’m back in touch with one or two of the lads who live round here.”
Sir Andrew Gregory, Controller of SSAFA: “Thanks to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity support, we can continue to adapt to meet the needs of those who contact SSAFA and we are extremely grateful.”
Brigadier (Ret’d) Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff ABF The Soldiers’ Charity: “SSAFA caseworkers are such an integral part of providing assistance to veterans who are in need of a hand up. They are often the first point of contact for those that we help, so it is imperative that The Soldiers’ Charity continues to support SSAFA to allow them to carry on their important work.”