100 years on, and our help is needed more than ever

The SSAFA helps  veterans like  Glen Lawson, pictured with grandson Finn.
The SSAFA helps veterans like Glen Lawson, pictured with grandson Finn.

The Fife branch of a national charity which provides support to the men and women of the armed forces and their families has been up and running for the past 100 years ... and its services are still in demand today.

SSAFA is a volunteer-led nationwide charity based in London and has 92 branches across the United Kingdom to support veterans.

In addition to welfare and practical support, SSAFA provides access to specialist services such as supporting veterans in the criminal justice system; offering a free telephone helpline and a mentoring service to help injured, wounded or sick servicemen and women transitioning to civilian life.

George Givens, local caseworker and branch publicity officer, explained how the charity helps veterans in Fife. He said: “At local branch level our caseworkers are all volunteers and the vast majority of our work involves veterans and their families.

“Within Fife we have 33 volunteers, including 25 trained caseworkers. SSAFA was founded in 1885 and while there is no record of how long the Fife Branch has been operating, we know it was well established by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

“In Fife we help around 250 people each year and we have found that the number of cases has increased by eight per cent in each of the last two years, which indicates the need is far from diminishing.”

The charity helps all servicemen and women who have served at least one day in the armed forces including the reserve forces.

George said trained volunteer caseworkers will arrange to meet the person wanting help and produce a report which is passed on to the relevant service and in the case of financial assistance, funds are released to aid the applicant. This could range from adaptions to help mobility to debt management. Last year SSAFA Fife helped to release over £200,000 to aid the forces community. Veterans can contact SSAFA at 48 Hunter Street, Kirkcaldy, or by telephoning (01592) 263714.