SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has seen an increase in need for support in Lincolnshire - and wants to find new recruits to join its ranks of dedicated volunteers.
SSAFA supports 55,000 people in the Armed Forces community each year, and it has divisions across Lincolnshire including Louth, Boston & Skegness, Bourne & Stamford, Coningsby & District, Grantham, Lincoln & Waddington, North Lincolnshire, Sleaford Town & District, and Spalding.
Volunteer case workers support members of the Armed Forces community in a range of ways, including visiting them in their homes, assessing their needs, assisting with house adaptations for injured servicemen and women, raising the rent for unemployed young veterans, befriending a lonely veteran and providing some company, and offering support with issues such as homelessness, marriage breakdown, debt and mental health problems.
Sue Pillar, SSAFA Director of Volunteer Operations and former Army Lieutenant Colonel, said: “In Lincolnshire not only have we seen the needs of the local Armed Forces community increase significantly, but their welfare needs have become more complex.
“SSAFA predicts that the welfare needs of this community will continue to grow as World War Two veterans are now well into their 90s.
“At the same time, the impact of recent conflicts on our younger veterans and their families continues to reveal itself.
“If we take a moment to think about the courage shown and the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces whilst serving our country, it is shocking that we still see veterans of all ages, and their families, struggling.”
East Lindsey District councillor Siobhan Weller (Holton le Clay and North Thoresby Ward) is a fine example of the way an armed forces veteran’s life can be turned around thanks to the hard work of the charity.
Siobhan spent eight years as a soldier, but after leaving the army in 2006 and trying a number of public service jobs, she became unemployed due to sickness.
After her health improved, Siobhan applied for an internship in Parliament as part of the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements Scheme, run through the Social Mobility Foundation, but she could not afford a place to stay in London and turned to SSAFA who provided her with all the help and support she needed.
Siobhan later went on to be elected in the district council elections last May, and her internship also gave her the confidence to apply for university - she is currently studying towards a BA Hons in Counselling, accredited by the University of Hull..
Siobhan - now Coun Weller - said: “SSAFA helped me enormously in relocating to London and during my time in Parliament.
“If it wasn’t from the help of SSAFA I would have never been elected.”
l For more information and to help call 0845 658 1167 or visit www.ssafa.org.uk/newrecruits