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SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has been a difficult time for many, including those in the Armed Forces community such as veterans and their families.

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, aims to relieve their need, suffering and distress, in order to support their independence and dignity. Every year, we provide one-to-one support to over 85,000 people. Isolation underlies many of their needs, and often it takes a crisis before they consider asking for help. Many are too proud and modest to seek support, no matter how great their need.

A SSAFA mentor wearing a red t-shirt with the SSAFA logo talks to a member of the Armed Forces in khaki uniform. Both are sat on a bench.

Our services, which include a free confidential Forcesline helpline, support with emergency funds, and mentoring for those leaving the forces, have been adapted to meet the new government Covid-19 safety guidelines. Through our 5,000+ network of nationwide volunteers, we are supporting the most isolated using new platforms such as video calls and live webchats, as well as by phone and email, plus socially-distanced personal visits for those completely cut off from their community.

Bill Grant, Forcesline Manager, said:

“We have seen an 80% increase in requests for support for feelings of isolation and loneliness.

“Not being able to have a friendly coffee or meet up with family has left many feeling adrift. It is our job now to continue supporting them and give them the space to explore their feelings and talk about what’s going on for them.

“We urge anyone in the Forces family still suffering with the feeling of being on their own, to reach out to us. SSAFA has adapted many ways to support you safely and we want to share the message that we are still here for you – as we always are.“

Three members of the Armed Forces sit and chat on steps on a sunny day

Forcesline can be contacted on 0800 731 4880 or ssafa.org.uk/get-help/forcesline.

We are open 09:00 – 17:30, Monday to Friday.