A CHARITY is looking for volunteers to help support the Armed Forces community across the Gwent area.

SSAFA have a team of more than 5,000 people across the UK, including three divisions in Gwent and the volunteers have helped support 82,000 people.

The Abergavenny & Blaenau Gwent Division, Chepstow Division and Newport Division are looking for more volunteer caseworkers to provide practical and emotional support for serving personnel, veterans and military families across the area.

Many people have benefitted from the support these volunteers give and have had their lives changed or significantly improved due to help from SSAFA volunteers.

One beneficiary, who we are keeping anonymous, was ex-army and lived with his wife in a small terrace town house. He sought support from SSAFA in 2014 as he was terminally ill and had financial troubles that he wanted to clear.

SSAFA helped to significantly reduce his debts and met his medical needs to help improve his quality of life.

In 2016, the beneficiary’s widow approached SSAFA as she had encountered issues with her roof, and it had sprung a leak. SSAFA, working in conjunction with Care and Repair (Monmouthshire and Torfaen), obtained builders’ quotations and funded the necessary repairs.

A few years later, the widow’s boiler broke down and she required assistance from SSAFA. The charity provided emergency assistance to ensure she had adequate heating and hot water.

Another beneficiary that we have agreed not to name, is a young, intelligent veteran who had served in the army for a short period of time, before being medically discharged with mental health issues.

When he first contacted SSAFA, he was living in a tent in the countryside. He had no access to a doctor or dentist and had suffered tremendous weight loss due to stress and poor living conditions.

Eventually, he found a private unfurnished rented flat to live in. With very few possessions to his name, it was clear that he needed basic white and brown goods, as well as furniture and appliances.

His SSAFA caseworker applied for funding and provided a fridge freezer, washing machine, dryer, cooker, kitchen table and chairs, and curtains. In addition, SSAFA paid a month’s rent to ease the stress of his new living conditions.

After moving into the property, the beneficiary had his state benefits reduced unexpectedly and he accumulated a significant amount in rent arrears. With the help of his SSAFA caseworker, he successfully applied for a Discretionary Housing Payment and Housing Benefit, clearing all of his debt.

In addition, his SSAFA caseworker advised him to register with his local GP and register to vote.

The beneficiary is now attending college in order to further his education. The charity obtained a second-hand laptop from a local company to assist him with his studies.


Trevor Scott, SSAFA divisional secretary for Abergavenny & Blaenau Gwent said: "The work we do in Abergavenny and Blaenau Gwent is limitless in its variety and is both challenging and rewarding."

Volunteer caseworkers visit Armed Forces personnel and veterans to work out what help they may need and they are a vital part of the rehabilitation and coping strategies for many Armed Forces personnel, whether currently serving or veterans.

For more information, contact the Gwent branch of SSAFA on 01633 246269. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9am and 12midday or visit ssafa.org.uk/volunteer.