WW1 Experience Days A Great Success
With more stands and more visitors than ever, our latest World War One commemoration event was a great success. Last year, we teamed up with Salisbury Cathedral to stage our Hundred Hearts exhibition, this year's event was timed to coincide with the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, one of the bloodiest battles of World War One.
Friday saw school educational visits and the celebration of Evensong in the Cathedral, while on both days members of the public were able to learn about our work with the Forces Family and delve deeper into the history of those we support.
As well as C Company Rolling History and Bristol Scout Aeroplane who supported us last year, we welcomed the Royal Signals Museum, Breaking Ground Heritage and Support2Ops who provided us with Event Control and logistics. Their combined efforts saw a much more prominent event that attracted visitors from across the county as well as interest from passing tourists. Media coverage increased and we hope to be back next year to commemorate 100 years since the end of The Great War.
SSAFA Wiltshire get out and about in rain and shine
Let's face it, it hasn't been the best of summers, but our volunteers have cast off any Summertime Blues to get out and about spreading the word about this great charity and the work we do.
Our North Wiltshire Division were at Lacock at War which is always well attended and the Tombola brings a steady stream of visitors to the stand. This year, they welcomed Flog It! star Paul Martin and Miss Lacock At War as well as many veterans and our loyal supporters.
Over at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, we teamed up with SSAFA Blandford Camp in the World War One exhibit. We spent a few days under a corrugated iron roof which did get a bit warm but also added authenticity of the event which was a great success for us. We raised much needed funds, and were able to inform many more people about our work than we manage to reach at smaller events. Teaming up with Blandford Camp worked well, and we hope to work together again some time soon. Thank you Dorset!
TENTS, BOOKS & CHAMPAGNE
Local Firms Support Our Efforts
Like all charities, we rely on goodwill in order to carry out our work. The goodwill of our volunteers to help those in need, the goodwill of our supporters to dig deep in their pockets, and the goodwill of local companies to help in lots of different ways.
Raffle prizes are a favourite, and we are always touched by the way that even the smallest companies will give up some of their profit so that we can benefit. Signed books from Osprey Publishing and a magnum of champagne from drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark are recent examples. Other companies give their time, such as solicitors Parker Bullen who have attended events on our behalf or supply the goods for those events, such as cakes and sandwiches for Big Brew Ups.
One company that we are particularly grateful to is Prolinx whose ongoing support has been key to our recent efforts to raise awareness. They have bought us various items of equipment recently so that we can attend even more events and give us flexibility to tailor the size and layout of our displays to suit the venue. At the recent Royal International Air Tattoo, our stand, banners and other things were a generous gift from Prolinx who provide secure technologies, solving problems of connectivity and communication which affect troops.
To all those companies supporting us, big or small, we say THANK YOU FOR HELPING US TO HELP THEM!
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.
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.