Are you a veteran in need of some support and advice ?
Veterans today who are leaving the armed forces face many new challenges especially if they have completed long service, finding a place on civvy street as they call it can be a bit daunting.
The reason for this page is to try and sign post useful services to help those leaving the forces as well as those still currently serving, I work as a volunteer caseworker in SSAFA the first charity of it’s kind established back in 1885 by an officer who had concerns for the welfare of his men and their families, since then many more charities have been established to assist veteran’s in a variety of ways.
So what does SSAFA offer in the way of support for our armed forces, there are many practical ways they can assist a veteran past or present and their families, this could be anything from help with a house move to help getting training to increase your chances of employment.
As the world is changing so is the role of our armed forces to and we are sadly seeing much younger men and woman suffering the effects of various conflicts they have served in, usually we were seeing older veterans from the 1st and 2nd world war however their numbers are decreasing.
I do feel sad to see so many of our young men and woman suffering from mental health issues they struggle to cope with everyday living and I am glad we have organizations such as Combat stress who offer support and aid recovery from their ordeals.
Many charitites come together to help our armed forces personnel and their families in helping them them build a better future for themselves and their families, charities such as Poppy Scotland , The ABF ( Soldiers Charity) not forgetting RAF Benevolent fund and the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust, if I could list them all I would for all the wonderful support they give.
Employment what can be done to assist you :
Civvy Street : A Royal British Legion program setup to assist veterans into employment, they offer services such as
- Employment support grants
- Mentoring to help you find a career path
- Online Learning
- Job opportunities
Struggling with Debt
Having trouble managing your money and need debt advice try contacting you local CAB office some have advisers for veterans if you are in Scotland they have a Armed Services Advice Project or you can call them on 0845 2310300. if you are having trouble finding assistance try your local SSAFA office.
Housing is a real cause for concern here in the UK we find many of our veterans in a homeless situation either due to financial reasons or perhaps they find it difficult to stay in a fixed place. There are a variety of different projects going on up and down the country to try and address this issue.
When councils decided that they would not allow armed forces personnel to remain on housing lists and get priority status it became very difficult, not everyone has deposit money again you can try your local SSAFA office to point you in the right direction, they may also be able to get help with the deposit.
Some councils now have staff trained to assist veterans in securing accommodation always ask when you present yourself, there are some Housing associations that are set up to help:
- Haig Housing
- If you have a disability and are in Scotland there is the Houses for Heroes
- Housing options Scotland they are very dedicated team helping you with housing options.
- England and Wales you could try Homes for Veterans
- Stoll housing is another place to try if you are in need of housing
These are just a few places you can try if you are in need of housing or just advice, I would suggest if you are getting ready to leave the services then the sooner you try and get organized the better your chances are, also remember your last move is one you pay for yourself so check and be clear about what up front costs are needed.
If you are in a position to buy a home and need some help in what is involved go to AF&V for some guidance this is a community run by veterans for veterans that includes those currently serving to,always get someone to check legal work and see if you can get a better deal.
Need some confidential support
Forcesline/SSAFA is a confidential service that you can access either by telephone or email that is run by a independent charity and is not part of the military chain of command, the team are there to listen without judgement and seek ways to help you, even if you are AWOL ( absent without leave)
This service can be accessed from anywhere in the world:
- If you are in the UK call 0800 731 4880
- For Germany call 0800 1827 395
- For Cyprus call 800 91065
- For Falklands call #6111
- Rest of the world call +44 (0)207 463 9292
To call from operational theatres use the Paradigm’s telephone system dial the appropriate access number then enter *201 at the pin prompt
Should you prefer to make contact online use this email enquiry, they aim to contact you within 24 hours if it is something that needs dealing with quickly please call.
Please be assured that this is a confidential service and is not connected to the military chain of command, they are there to help you.
There are many ways that you can be helped from the small to the bigger challenges you face making contact is the first step it may be that you will need to be signposted to another organizations, however all the charities that aimed at Veterans are all working to help you, most are being run by volunteers so be patient whilst they are trying to get the aid that suits you the best it can take time and you made need more than one service if you have a few issues to deal with.
Looking to start up your own business:
There are a variety of ways to assist you in starting up your own business might just be some practical help you need or you might be looking for a grant to get started. Once again you can contact SSAFA and ask for some assistance, here is a few other places to look at.
- X-Forces they offer support and assistance to get started it is based on a 5 step process however I think this is based on a business loan and you will receive 12 months support to help grow your business
- Heroepreneurs is another place that provides help and support to start up a business
- The Royal British Legion also offer help with a new business start up you can call on their helpline 08006785787
Again Civvy street have help and support to start up a new business, having a business plan is essential especially if you are looking to borrow money, you will have to decide if you want to be a limited company or a soletrader, there is much to consider for more information on this click here.
Dealing with mental well being
We also see many veterans with drug and alcohol misuse often they are homeless too and struggle to find where they fit in, some may be suffering from PTSD there are various projects to try and aid recovery one such place is Tom Harrison House which is based in Liverpool if you are in need of support or know someone you can contact them on 0151 909 8481 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Combat Stress can also offer help with this as can a few other charities, mental well being is a growing concern for our armed forces today there is so much stress on our NHS already many people cannot not get the support and care they really need and that is the general population included.
We are all aware of Help For Heroes who do a wonderful job of assisting and caring for our wounded veterans, they do a good job of supporting other charities as well and offer other types of assistance.
There are so many charities that are working hard to give support to our armed forces it is hard to list them all, if you have a specific question please just drop me a message and I will get back to you, if I do not know the answer will find someone who does.
If you have someone serving who is deployed who could do with a bit of support whilst away, or you have someone in the forces and you need a bit of support why not stop by and visit, SOS (Supportoursoldiers), they send care packages out to give a morale boost to our Military personnel and support to their families.
I would like to extend my thanks to all our Armed Forces personnel for the service they give to our country, if you would like to volunteer or make a donation check your local charity, There are many national Charities like SSAFA and the Royal British Legion as a point of contact.
In closing I hope this page is of help if you feel you have something to share please leave a comment, again if you know someone who could use a helping hand,even if they are in prison but have served contact your local SSAFA office so the can get the ball rolling.
If you want to follow me on twitter just click the icon there I re-tweet job opportunities I come across or any other charities that may have events that can help you get into work and all the latest developments in the veteran sector