SSAFA celebrates 25 years supporting RAF personnel
SSAFA, the UK’s oldest military charity, are today (18 July) celebrating a quarter of a century supporting RAF personnel and their families.
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SSAFA’s bespoke welfare service for the RAF was brought in by the Ministry of Defence to provide support for airmen and women during the Gulf War in 1990, with five dedicated SSAFA employees working alongside their RAF counterparts assisting in a range of issues such as relationship problems, domestic abuse, illness and disability, financial concerns, mental health and housing.
In response to the unique challenges facing Forces families, the service has grown and now boasts 57 employees, five regional divisions and operates across 48 RAF stations and MoD establishments nationwide.
It is estimated that in the last 25 years over 75,000 RAF personnel and family members have received support.
Nigel Holland-Williams, Head of Service at SSAFA, who helped establish the Service 25 years ago and has seen it develop significantly since, says he is proud of the work SSAFA has done and continues to do.
He said: ‘We’re pleased to have been able to provide valuable support to RAF personnel and their families who are doing a difficult job, which can throw up many – and often unexpected - challenges.
‘Over time the welfare needs of the RAF has changed, especially in light of recent conflicts. We have had to constantly adapt to ensure the best possible care and support is in place for our airmen and women and importantly, their families.
‘As we continue in our commitment to RAF families who are facing difficulties, additional focus will be given to informing RAF Reservists, who often live outside the traditional RAF network of support, that they and their families are able to access the same level of support– which is an important message to convey.
‘To date we have helped 75,000 people and continue to work tirelessly to help many more in the future.’