WARTIME MEMORIES WEEKEND
Our World War One event at Salisbury Cathedral this year will be bigger and better than ever!
An extraordinarily powerful piece of commemorative art will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War across the Nation in 2018. The enormous scale of the Shrouds of the Somme brings a genuine sense of the true cost of the conflict, whilst remembering those individuals who gave their all. Artist Rob Heard is hand stitching and binding calico shrouds for 72,396 figures representing Commonwealth servicemen killed at the Somme who have no known grave, many of whose bodies were never recovered and whose names are engraved on the Thiepval Memorial.
1,561 Shrouds – one for each day of the First World War – will be laid out on the beautiful, sacred Garth within the Cloisters at Salisbury Cathedral as part of SSAFA Wiltshire's WW1 Weekend.
As well as solemn commemoration, the event will show modern day visitors how life was for those in the trenches with interactive displays and contemporary arms and equipment. Entry is free.
WELCOME TO OUR NEW BRANCH SECRETARY
Wg Cdr Ian Ferries joins SSAFA Wiltshire
Having served in the the RAF for over 30 years, SSAFA was an obvious choice for Ian Ferries when he decided to volunteer for a family focussed service charity. Our new Branch Secretary was particularly impressed by the way SSAFA gives families support in all of areas of need, citing as an example "as domestic violence hostels become fewer, the Stepping Stones Houses are a wonderful facility".
Being retired, Ian had some capacity for voluntary work and since leaving the RAF had volunteered for Citizens Advice for seven years where he became a volunteer supervisor. We work closely with Citizens Advice offices across the county and Ian hopes his experience will enhance what is already a solid working relationship. Ian joined the local council and served as the mayor of Royal Wootton Bassett and now wants to use that experience to help provide a service to current and former servicemen and women and their families, .
As Branch Secretary, Ian will be kept busy arranging branch meetings, implementing branch policy and decisions as well as coordinating all volunteers and caseworkers within the branch and promoting SSAFA across the county. Recent legislation and changes to our ways of working means that implementing and maintaining data management policies and procedures will be key elements in his work this year.
In welcoming Ian to the branch at our AGM, Chairman Stephen Oxlade paid tribute to outgoing Secretary Bill Common who will now become more involved with Publicity and Awareness, adding "Ian's experience in the military, local government and charity sector will be invaluable to us in a time of rapid and complex change and I am delighted to have him on board".
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2018
SSAFA Wiltshire rises to the challenge
Change was the common theme adopted by several speakers at the SSAFA Wiltshire AGM in Tidworth on 20th April. The military charity landscape continues to be in flux, but with initiatives such as the Veterans' Gateway, there is also increasing co-operation among charities in the sector with SSAFA at the forefront. Other changes thrust upon us by legislation have seen our internal processes and tools adapting to encompass the requirements of Data Protection, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Safeguarding. Our volunteers have risen to the challenge and we are well on our way to complying with all the new legislative and administrative requirements while also coming to grips with new ways of working.
The statistics presented showed that despite another year of upheaval, our caseworkers continue to make a difference to people's lives with increasingly complex cases adding to the administrative burden. Happily, we have close ties with other charities and those long associations have helped us weather the storm of change.
We welcomed John Sandall from Central Office who highlighted that the needs of beneficiaries are changing. This was echoed by other speakers and it was noted that cases are becoming ever more complex and are rarely simple but span a range of needs. John outlined SSAFA's Volunteer Strategy emphasising that SSAFA's success across its long history is largely down to the devotion and dedication of its volunteer network.
We were pleased to welcome Babs Harris, CEO of Alzheimer Support, the charity that offers dementia support and care across the county. She gave us an insight into how her charity works and how we might better work together in the future given that a large proportion of those they help are ex-military.
As always, this was an informative meeting and volunteers took the chance to ask some pertinent questions of branch officers and guests ensuring the day was well spent.
MEET THE TEAM - THE PRISON IN-REACH VOLUNTEER
Reverend Barry Scott supports veterans in HMP Erlestoke
During his time as a caseworker for our North Wilts Division, The Reverend Barry Scott says he has had many proud moments. One of the most satisfying was being able to take a family to their new home locally and help them get carpets fitted and beds and bedding, and a cooker. Barry served in the RAF from 1960 to 1975 and first got to know SSAFA when they helped his mother while her husband was serving away on Christmas Island so knows just what a difference SSAFA can make.
“When you can make a real difference to people’s lives it’s a great feeling, and I would recommend volunteering with SSAFA to anyone with time to spare and a desire to help others.”
In recent times, Barry has become SSAFA Wiltshire’s Prison In-Reach Officer, encouraging, supporting and simply helping ex-servicemen in HMP Erlestoke.
“I feel blessed when I talk to ex-servicemen in prison and try to encourage and support them and sometimes their families, There is one guy who has no contact from anyone outside the prison other then the prison officers, so I make sure I see him every month.”
Barry is delighted that one client - since moved on to an open prison and due for release next year- baked cakes and sold them to visitors and prison officers, raising about £100 for SSAFA Wiltshire.
Why volunteer for SSAFA? Barry says, “if you would like to help and support serving and ex-servicemen and their families who have fallen on hard times, then join a team of dedicated people who put others before themselves, and that’s SSAFA.”
If Barry’s story has made you think about volunteering please get in touch. Contact details are at the top of this page.
HELPING US TO HELP THEM
Husband and wife team raise £6500 for SSAFA in raffle
Branch Secretary Bill Common was delighted to present Lieutenant Colonel Tim Symonds and his team with the Silver Lady WW1 statue in recognition of their efforts to raise funds for us. Thanks to the local and national businesses that supported them with prizes - Goring Hotel, Tesco, Waitrose, Co-Op, Tipple Inn, Harrow Pub, Coral Cove, Chalk Valley History Festival, Finkley and Charlie’s Farm, Longleat and many more - a fantastic £6500 was raised in a raffle organised by Tim and wife Major Georgina.
Colonel Tim is a great SSAFA supporter and is reportedly already planning his next fund raising venture.
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).
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