MAGNIFICENT MILITARY MUSIC
Chippenham turns out for SSAFA concert by the Band of the Scots Guards
Neeld Hall in Chippenham was the location for a superb concert given by the Band of the Scots Guards in aid of SSAFA Wiltshire. Director of Music Major Ian Johnson and Bandmaster WO1 Robert Smith led the band through a diverse and engrossing selection from the Beatles to Wagner. A packed audience of music lovers came from across the county and beyond to attend what was generally ageed to be an occasion not to be missed.
SSAFA Wiltshire Chairman Stephen Oxlade expressed his gratitude to all those attending, who included James Gray MP, the Mayor of Chippenham, Mary Norton, and the CO, Adjt and RSM of 9 Regt RLC who continue to raise funds and help us in any way they can. Air and Sea cadets under the leadership of Sub Lt Nick Gilks helped out and the occasion was very generously supported by Chippenham Town Council, the Neeld Hall and other sponsors who gave prizes for the raffle.
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.
HERE'S TO OUR CADETS!
Local cadet forces always turn out to help
We have a very small team of volunteers, and one of the main reasons we are able to successfuly run events is that we receive fantastic support from people in uniform. Operational and other commitments mean that it's not always practical for local regular or reserve units to help us out with fund raising and raising awareness, so without the cadets we wouldn't be able to achieve half of what we do.
The Ministry of Defence sponsors and supports four cadet force voluntary youth organisations. The Sea Cadets, Army Cadet Force, Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force offer challenging and enjoyable activities for young people, and prepare them to play an active part in the community while developing valuable life skills. A great institution and always first class ambassadors for their communities.
We are so grateful to every cadet, and their adult leaders, for what they do for us. Most recently, we were proud to welcome the Chippenham Sea Cadets and 1304 Sqn ATC to help out at the concert which the Band of the Scots Guards gave on our behalf.
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.
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).
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.