ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2019
More Cases, More Volunteers & More Change
If there was a theme to this year's SSAFA Wiltshire AGM, which took place at Waterloo Lines, Warminster, it was that the challenges of supporting the Forces Family don't get any easier as time goes by! We have seen a great deal of change to our internal processes recently because of legislation and to improve our way of working, and that will continue as the long-awaited new case management system comes on stream later this year. In the meantime, the overall number of cases has increased but recent successful recruitment campaigns online and in print has seen a much needed surge in the number of volunteers recruited to meet the increased need.
As always, we were given an update on all things SSAFA from Central Office, and this year we were pleased to have Kirsty Bushell who is a SSAFA Trustee, our National Vice-Chair and a close neighbour residing in Gloucestershire. Despite that, she was given a warm Wiltshire welcome and emphasised the increasingly complex cases SSAFA deals with and how we are adapting to meet the challenges that inevitably come with them. Kirsty emphasised that SSAFA has always adapted to changes, often leading the way, for example "inventing" District Nurses in 1892 out of necessity. We are immensely proud of the fact that out of every £1 donated to SSAFA, 89p goes directly to supporting the work of our army of volunteers, across the world as well as here in Wiltshire.
Mental health has long been a topic for discussion at SSAFA meetings as we see more and more younger veterans, especially, seeking our help who have issues. We were delighted to receive a talk from former Grenadier Guardsman Carl Shadrake whose frank description of dealing with PTSD was both humbling and extremely moving. Carl was an early adopter of our mentoring system and gave us an insight in to how things look from the mentee's perspective.
Reports were heard from the Branch officers, and there was plenty to discuss over lunch. If you would like to attend next year's AGM, complete the contact form on this page and become a volunteer!
New Book Uncovers County's Secrets While Supporting SSAFA
After the success of their book Deepest Dorset, Deepest Books decided to produce a tome about neighbouring Wiltshire which was launched in Devizes in March. Deepest Wiltshire is the work of co-authors journalists Fanny Charles and Gay Pirrie-Wier, who scoured the county exploring the development of industry, military, art, and technology that has shaped Wiltshire over the years.
We are delighted that some of the proceeds from sales of Deepest Wiltshire will go to supporting SSAFA Wiltshire's work in the county. Find your local stockist at bit.ly/DWStockists.
COME AND JOIN US!
Are You Looking To Help Others?
We need people who will give some of their time to do whatever is necessary to help us to help the Forces Family in Wiltshire & Swindon. Baking cakes, selling books, helping on stands at events, creating and managing online content, talking to organisations and schools about our work - you name it, we need somebody to help do it!
As thousands more servicemen and women and their families move back to Salisbury Plain from Germany, WE ARE DESPERATELY SHORT OF VOLUNTEERS to ensure our vital work continues. Click on the "Recruiting Poster" in the files section at the bottom of this page for more, or get in touch (see top of page).
Salisbury School Supports SSAFA
Salisbury’s independent boarding school Godolphin School was founded in 1726 and educates girls between the ages of 11 and 18.
The school commemorated the centenary of the end of the Great War with a “Godolphin Remembers” event which consisted of an art exhibition and a commemorative performance. The performance used music that was played at the school during the war and readings reflecting on life at the school during that time.
As the only major military charity operating during WW1 that is still around today, SSAFA Wiltshire were proud to be chosen as the beneficiaries of the event. Receiving a cheque for £929.21 from Godolphin CCF cadets, Vice-Chair Sue Rollo said “it’s humbling to see these young people recognising our role in supporting the Forces Family in Wiltshire then as we do now”.
WARTIME MEMORIES WEEKEND A GREAT SUCCESS
Our annual event at Salisbury Cathedral this year was bigger and better than ever
Our two previous World War One events were held in November to commemorate specific battles, so the move to June proved popular with exhibitors, the local schools which attended on Friday and the many visitors on Saturday and Sunday. Rather than a battle, this year's event focussed on SSAFA's role in the Great War, when we were the only major military charity operating that is still going strong today.
1,561 Shrouds of the Somme – one for each day of the First World War – were laid out within the Cathedral Cloisters by soldiers from 5 Rifles in Bulford. The cloisters provided visitors with a respite from the sometimes hot weather and housed an art trail, our collection of Wire Soldiers, and other exhibits. The History Tent housed historical societies, local and military museums including Trowbridge Museum, The Horses Trust and Wiltshire Council's Wall of Commemorative Crosses.
Uniformed re-enactors included C Company Rolling History with their excellent WW1 Trench system, chaplains from The Museum of Army Chaplaincy and The Garrison Artillery Volunteers from Larkhill with their WW1 encampment.
The Bristol Scout WW1 Aeroplane has been with us since the beginning and always attracts a crowd. The Royal Corps of Signals Museum WW1 Communications exhibit was very popular with groups of cadets practising their semaphore skills! There were displays of WW1 Medicine by the Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Nursing and Dental Corps, WW1 aviation artefacts and interactive displays from the Museum Of Army Flying and displays of WW1 gas warfare artefacts and aviation ephemera from the CBRN centre at Winterbourne Gunner.
The weekend concluded with a commemorative Choral Evensong with our Branch President The Venerable Stephen Robbins preaching.
MEET THE TEAM - THE DIVISIONAL SECRETARY
For Hilary Pearce SSAFA is all about the family
Like many of our volunteers, Hilary Pearce has a family connection to SSAFA. Her Mum worked for SSAFA in Lancashire for some 30 years, so SSAFA is in the family DNA and is's natural that Hilary's daughters Blythe, 8, and Cecily, 7, are getting involved too. Hilary remembers waiting in the car while her Mum beavered away helping someone in need.
As Divisional Secretary, Hilary is the first point of contact for queries about SSAFA for the Salisbury area. Some of the queries need signposting on to other statutory services or possibly other charities. If we are able to help, Hilary matches the case to one of her caseworkers who will work their magic to help the client and source funding. Hilary is a fairly recent recruit to SSAFA Wiltshire and emphasises the importance of our volunteer team, saying "I am very ably supported by my Assistant Div Sec, Treasurer and all the caseworkers, without whom the whole system would fall apart!"
Hilary particularly likes the way SSAFA works as the vital link between benevolent funds and the veterans and their families who need help. "After more than 130 years, we are quick and very efficient which is paramount to someone in need of help" noted Hilary, adding "our caseworkers carry an enormous amount of local knowledge with them and I think this is very important in helping clients."
As a SSAFA volunteer, what makes Hilary tick is seeing individuals back on their feet after a very difficult period in their life: "you definitely get a warm glow inside knowing you have made a difference". She advises anyone who is computer literate and has a few hours or more to spend to consider volunteering because "you CAN make a real difference by volunteering for SSAFA".
If Hilary's story has made you think about volunteering please get in touch. Contact details are at the top of this page.
Volunteering in Wiltshire and Swindon
Volunteers are at the heart of our work with the Armed Forces family.
Meet inspiring people, gain some confidence and learn new skills as part of our volunteer network in Wiltshire and Swindon. Most of our volunteers support ex-service personnel and their dependants living in their community, though we always need help manning our stands at events, baking cakes, making things, administration and much more.
Whatever your skills or experience, you WILL be able to help, so to discuss how, please get in touch via the contact details top of this page.