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Still delivering vital support to RAF bases

Still delivering vital support to RAF bases

ARTICLES

04 Sep, 2020

In the midst of challenging times for the whole world, SSAFA is delighted to be celebrating the positive news of its 30 years supporting the RAF community on base …

The 60-strong SSAFA team, headed up by Cathie Johnson, understands that military staff and families face some unique challenges, such as regular deployments, having to live apart and frequent moves. The team provides comprehensive and confidential support, with a special focus on services for adults, but also including children, young people and their families.

For anyone in the RAF, SSAFA social workers, and personal and family support workers are there to help when times get tough. This can be in the shape of support with stress, depression, difficult relationships, financial problems, resettlement, housing, childcare, equality issues, bereavement, military discharge or deployments. The SSAFA team can liaise with local authorities and services, while maintaining a client-focused confidential service, operating outside of the normal RAF chain of command.

Veteran Paula Finch served in the RAF from the 1980s. Now she works for SSAFA’s RAF Personal Support and Social Work Service, making sure those serving, and their families, get help when times are tough. ’I think my Service background has helped me to be more empathetic to the needs of Service personnel and their families,’ she says. ‘I understand what it's like to be a single mum on deployment – I was in the Falklands when my daughter was just a year old. I understand the isolation. I married a Service person, so I also understand what it's like to be that person who is left at home to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. My life experience in the Service has made a massive difference to my role now. I really can empathise with the people I support. I feel like I am back with my military family and I’ve had feedback like “she just gets it”, which shows I am doing something right!

‘This role is important as we are outside the chain of command and offer a confidential, non-judgemental service, which gives them a space to talk about problems they might not be able to talk to about with others. It’s crucial our Service men and women have access to this support.’

Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity says of the anniversary: ’SSAFA is extremely proud that, for the last 30 years, it has worked in partnership with the Royal Air Force to deliver personal support and social work to Service men and women and their families. Our work has been essential in ensuring that RAF military personnel can fulfil their roles, which, in turn, keeps our nation safe. For three decades, SSAFA staff have worked tirelessly to meet this remit, adapting as necessary, especially in recent months, to maintain the service. As we move into our 31st year, I personally thank all those who provide this vital support; across SSAFA, we take great pride in the quality and professionalism of your activities.’

If you need the support of SSAFA’s RAF Personal Support & Social Work Service, call 03000 111 723 or email psswsRAF@ssafa.org.uk

For more information about the work of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, click here

About SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. Last year our teams of volunteers and employees helped more than 85,000 people in need, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts, and their families. SSAFA understands that behind every uniform is a person. We are here for that person – any time they need us, in any way they need us, for as long as they need.

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