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SSAFA’s fight against the “invisible enemy” continues

SSAFA Impact Report 2016: In 2016, we supported 67,616 people in the Armed Forces community and our volunteers worked on 38,978 cases. Both of these numbers have increased by 8% since 2015. We have the largest network of trained volunteers of any military charity, with 6,682 volunteers helping to support our Armed Forces family around the world in 2016. To view the full Impact Report please click here

Strategic Review 2017-2022: We realise that although our charity has been in existence for over 130 years, times are changing rapidly. Whilst the veteran community will drop from 6.2 million to 4.75 million by 2025, demand for our services continues to increase.

SSAFA have decided that prevention and early intervention are key to its continuing success. Our strategy has been formulated by drawing on the experiences and expertise of individual organisations, including beneficiaries, other charitable organisations and campaigning bodies, and it will be delivered through our reinvigorated vision and mission statements:

Our vision: In recognition of their service to the Nation, SSAFA works to ensure that the needs of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families are met in an appropriate and timely way.

Our mission: SSAFA exists to relieve need, suffering and distress amongst the Armed Forces, veterans and their families in order to support their independence and dignity.

SSAFA’s fight against the “invisible enemy” continues.

A 2016 research report commissioned by SSAFA revealed a “forgotten generation” of younger veterans surviving on an average annual household income of just £13,800. The New Frontline exposed long-term physical and mental health problems and these veterans feeling let down by their country.

Living in fear of debt, working age veterans can experience depression as a result of their new circumstances. Many believe they have been disadvantaged by their military service and feel poorly treated when they leave the Forces compared to veterans in the USA.

This was taken from a research report by SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity last year, which surveyed nearly 1,000 veterans who had been helped by the charity.

The report shone a rare spotlight on the everyday issues facing younger veterans. While attention has often been focused on the problems faced by older, retired veterans, this younger group, particularly those aged under 45, is in fact the most likely to feel undervalued by society.

The New Frontline research report into veterans of working-age (16-65) showed some shocking additional findings:

SSAFA’s report gave a voice to veterans on ‘The New Frontline” – the transition from the services to civilian life. Since that vital report was issued, causing key stakholders to sit up and take notice, SSAFA has worked tirelessly.

What happened next?

As the oldest, tri-service charity SSAFA has a unique position with both the military and the government. SSSAFA called for:

  • Welfare screening of potentially vulnerable servicemen and women before they leave the forces
  • A new government funded mentoring scheme to support vulnerable veterans for at least their first year as a civilian
  • The Ministry of Defence (MoD) to improve its discharge processes to ensure that the service records of veterans are shared with the appropriate health and welfare professionals.

Keeping the issue in the spotlight:

In a crowded space of causes and issues, SSAFA has been working tirelessly to drive adequate

awareness and support for the transition process. Aiming to be the voice of this issue, SSAFA had launched another fresh campaign on this – aiming to fundraise to provide extra casework support for those in need.

Leading by example is essential, which is why the SSAFA casework service is a trailblazer in caring for veterans, serving personnel and their families. A tailored approach is known to be the most effective way of making progress with a successful Forces transition, especially as the needs of our veterans from recent conflicts now differ massively from those of the past. From that first point of contact with SSAFA, all beneficiaries are treated as an individual, with a plan of action that reflects this.

As we understand more about the main factors behind a negative transition experience, it is clear that no veteran has the same exit from the Forces. SSAFA is committed to making sure that every man and woman serving our country is given a positive transition back into civilian life when the time comes.

Join the fight and donate to end isolation in veterans by visiting www.ssafa.org.uk/fight

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