CROSSING THE WIRE IN AMESBURY
Volunteers from Division and In-Service at Amesbury Carnival
As you know, SSAFA has been around for a long time - 132 years to be precise - and was formed at a time before instant communications, even telephones. Each part of the organisation had, and retains to this day, a great deal of autonomy over how they ran their affairs. Although we get support from our Central Office and operate in accordance with common practices and values, we are self-sufficient in everything both at Branch (county) and Division (sub-county) level. Although this continues to works well from an administrative viewpoint, operationally it makes less sense. Our clients aren't interested in which part of the organisation is helping them, so long as help is available and there is a widespread recognition in SSAFA of the need for closer co-operation.
It was particularly pleasing then, to see the two most active groups within the county - our Kennet Division and the Salisbury Plain In-Service Committee - joining forces to raise awareness and funds at Amesbury Carnival. Volunteers from both groups manned the stand, sold tickets for the raffle and informed the public about their work. With regular meetings now taking place across the wire that has separated us from our serving colleagues for many years, and with outstanding examples of working together such as this, we hope to make more serving personnel and their families aware of our work and to make it easier for them to access our services.
OF ROYALTY AND ASBESTOS
SSAFA Wiltshire volunteers invited to Buckingham Palace Garden Party
Kennet Division Secretary, Margaret Lock, and her colleague case worker Bob Bailey were delighted to receive an invitation to The Queen's Garden Party recently. Both enjoyed their day, though Margaret's plans were put in jeopardy when her bedroom ceiling came down revealing asbestos. Her new outfit, hat and shoes had to be destroyed, and replacements bought. Our volunteers are well used to overcoming obstacles, and so Margaret and Bob were the picture of SSAFA sartorial elegance when the big day came.
Bob served for 25 years in the RAF and joined SSAFA seven years ago in order to give back to the Service Community. He thought he would be dealing mainly with veterans and was surprised by how much we do with the serving community, but then our Kennet Division includes Tidworth, Bulford and Larkhill. Bob is also a SSAFA bereavement counsellor and works with the Stroke Association.
Margaret's husband, Tony, was also in the RAF, and when they moved to Wiltshire from Cornwall to be closer to family, Margaret was asked to help in the local SSAFA office but ended up a short while later stepping up to the Divisional Secretary post.
The problems SSAFA's clients come to us with are diverse, and sometimes heartbreaking, but one particular case always raises a smile with Kennet volunteers. The client was a lady, some 100 years young, who needed a new carpet and told the caseworker that she did not want just any old carpet but one that would last for years! Such is the indomitable spirit we find time and time again with our clients and it's what makes the task worthwhile for our dedicated volunteers. Margaret and Bob had a grand day out and were honoured to be invited, just as SSAFA is honoured to have such dedicated and selfless individuals in our team.
NORTH WILTS HANDOVER
Gabriel Sexton has taken over as North Wilts Division Secretary
Rosemary Vale has handed over responsibility for our North Wilts Division to Gabriel Sexton. Like many of our volunteers, Gabriel is himself ex-Forces, having served for 32 years in the RAF. He and his wife, a former RAF Nurse, live in Royal Wootton Bassett where Gabriel became a SSAFA volunteer in 2011. Formerly Rosemary's deputy, Gabriel enjoys working in a service-related capacity and has been encouraged by the support he has received as he takes over his new role.
For her part, Rosemary isn't going to retire from our SSAFA Wiltshire family any time soon and will continue doing casework and acting as Gabriel's deputy. We wish them both well and are sure the Forces Family in North Wilts will continue to receive the same excellent support as before in a seamless transition.
BUILDING ON SUCCESS
SSAFA's New Controller visits our County AGM
SSAFA's recently appointed controller, Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory, was a very welcome guest at our branch AGM in Tidworth. Sir Andrew took as the theme for his address "Building On Success", reinforcing the traditional strengths of SSAFA and emphasising the need for us to adapt to the changing world of military charities and welfare. Volunteers took the opportunity to question Sir Andrew about his plans for the future and an exchange of views between delegates was further facilitated by an excellent lunch.
Several volunteers received long service awards, and the various branch officials reporting on the past year were able to confirm that we are in good shape to face the challenges of the increased workload likely to come with the Army's Rebasing programme.
ON THE ROAD TO NOWHERE
21 Signals Regiment and Tescos join forces to Help Our Forces
The Mayor of Trowbridge, Councillor Linda Self, and Town Crier Trevor Heeks were among those showing their support to the 21 Signals team on their 48 hours non-stop bike ride at Tesco Extra in Trowbridge. The team pedalled for some 686 miles and raised a magnificent £1200 which will go to supporting our work with the Forces family in Wiltshire and Swindon.
Special thanks to Tara Wysocki, the Tesco Extra Community Champion and all the staff at Tescos for helping us stage the event and making us all feel so welcome.
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).
Armed Forces Day 25 June 2017
On 24 & 25 June, we'll be at the Wiltshire Armed Forces and Veterans Celebrations in Trowbridge
Concert by the Band of the Scots Guards 13 July 2017
We're delighted that the Band of the Scots Guards will be giving a concert in Chippenham with all proceeds going to support our work in Wiltshire and Swindon