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Helping troops and their families

SSAFA France (Soldiers and Sailors’ Families Association)

SSAFA France (Soldiers and Sailors’ Families Association)

What does SSAFA do?

SSAFA provides servicemen and women, and their families, with the practical support they need. The charity helps not only those who serve, but also those who have served and in some
circumstances dependents and divorcees as well.

Every year, SSAFA’s network of trained volunteers assists some 50,000 people, ranging from Second World War veterans and national servicemen to members of the Territorial Army.
That support continues beyond retirement from the armed forces, and here in France there is a network of hard-working volunteers who are doing sterling work within the expatriate community.

Last year the charity was able to help people in difficulty to the tune of over €200,000 across France.

How long has the group been in existence?

SSAFA celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. The charity got off to a flying start and committees of volunteers were quickly established. In the years that followed, the association was there for tens of thousands of families struggling to cope with men away on active service, many of whom never came back.

SSAFA France was formed in 2004, centred initially in Aquitaine but quickly expanding across most areas of France where expatriates live. Six years later, we have a good understanding of where ex-servicemen and women have retired to and the types of problems they face.

Does the group still have a role to play today?

The charity’s work today is just as relevant as it was in the beginning. New services continue to be established to provide vital practical support wherever and whenever it is most needed.

As the number of fatalities and serious injuries sustained in Afghanistan continues to rise, SSAFA’s family support groups are playing a vital role in helping relatives come to terms with loss and life-changing injuries.

Are you looking for more volunteers?

Yes. SSAFA itself is not immune from the financial difficulties everyone is facing during the current crisis, and some of the charity’s volunteers have returned to the UK, creating vacancies.
At the same time, there are still gaps in coverage and SSAFA recognises that, to be able to offer a more robust service, it is necessary to offer support in other areas.

If you feel that you could help to meet the continuing call for assistance, please do not hesitate to come forward. SSAFA is a voluntary organisation. There are no salaried staff in France, although expenses are paid for benevolent casework.

Are they any particular areas where you need more help?

The areas where SSAFA France is desperate for additional help are Brittany, the coastal fringe between Caen and Dieppe, the area to the west of the line between Poitiers-Le Mans right out to the coast, and the Poitiers-Limoges-Bourges triangle.

However we are interested in hearing from anyone living elsewhere if you would like to help.

Who should readers contact for more info?

Our new phone number is 05 53 24 92 38. You can email france@ssafa.org.uk

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