Armed Forces Charity keen to support veterans in need

SSAFA volunteer case workers Martha Luke, Keith Powis, Anne Kerruish and Lloyd Rosentall with SSAFA

SSAFA volunteer case workers Martha Luke, Keith Powis, Anne Kerruish and Lloyd Rosentall with SSAFA divisional coordinator Paul Denovan. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

A charity which helps veterans and their families in North Somerset is desperate to reach out to people in need of support.

SSAFA, The Armed Forces Charity, offers lifelong support to those serving in the armed forces, veterans, and their families.

The charity appealed for more volunteers through the Weston Mercury last year and the number of local volunteer caseworkers doubled as a result.

More: Call for volunteers to support veterans.

However, as Covid-19 has prevent a number of events this year and forced the charity to temporarily close its offices in Eagle House, staff are concerned people may be missing out on vital support.

Paul Denovan, division coordinator for the North Somerset branch, said: “Covid-19 has shut down many planned public engagements in 2020: Helicopter Museum’s World at War, VE75, Armed Forces Days etc.

“Thus, SSAFA North Somerset has not been able to effectively reach out to potential clients, worsened as our office space, kindly provided by the Royal Air Force Association at Eagle House, is closed for now.”

The charity would like to hear from anyone who has served in the armed forces who needs help.

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Mr Denovan added: “Veterans are getting younger and some find adapting to civilian life disorientating, without the structure and camaraderie of the armed forces.

“Many veterans tell us it is difficult to ask for help leading to further isolation and poorer physical and mental health.”

Around 15,000 men and women leave the armed forces each year and the result of poor transition back into the community is estimated to cost £110million next year, based on costs to society through alcohol abuse, mental health disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, family breakdown and other issues.

SSAFA offers a confidential helpline for the armed forces community, providing emotional support and signposting to other services.

The charity provides welfare advice and financial assistance – trained volunteers visit clients to help them with issues such as home adaptations, debts, access to benefits and to address social isolation.

To find out more about SSAFA’s services, or to ask for assistance, contact SSAFA Somerset on 02089 383633 or email and you will be called back by a local volunteer caseworker.