Covid-19 Latest Information

14 April 2020

Our mission is to do whatever we can, for as long as we can, to ensure that all veterans, serving personnel, and their families’ access and receive the assistance they urgently need - at this time more than any other.

Since Covid-19 outbreak and lock-down, calls and requests into our front-line staff for help have increased dramatically, especially from those who are older, who have health problems, who are on low incomes or self-employed and who are at the greatest risk of harm.

Our response to this crisis is the SSAFA Emergency Response FundThis fund will prioritise support for our critical front-line services, by ensuring they are able to continue to provide immediate assistance to those impacted by Covid-19. 

Examples of what your donation will provide: 

  • financial assistance for basic living, heating and warm clothes, as well as paying for bills, rent and food, by distributing vouchers or delivering food parcels
  • advocacy and support with accessing benefits and entitlements, particularly for housing and accommodation issues
  • welfare and emotional help for those who have lost their jobs, are grieving or in crisis
  • befriending and other informal support networks
  • safeguarding and supporting our own teams of frontline volunteers and staff, who are continuing to provide our services over the phone, skype or email – as needed.

This support for the Armed Forces family can only be provided through our dedicated and expert teams of staff and volunteers who run our helplines, frontline welfare services and support SSAFA’s UK-wide network of caseworkers, which is why this appeal is so important.  

Many of those who now need our help have fought battles on our behalf to protect our freedoms and liberties, but they need your help now.  Please support them to survive this battle with COVID-19 and give what you can.

To contribute to the SSAFA Emergency Response Fund please donate here.

7 April 2020

As the UK’s oldest, national, tri-service charity, we at SSAFA are no stranger to adapting to change. Having existed through six monarchies to date, weathered two World Wars and countless conflicts, COVID-19 is just one more chapter in a legacy of resilience. The need to adapt swiftly is now more important than ever - as we know that vulnerable members of the military community need us.

Even during this pandemic, SSAFA is doing everything possible to continue delivering this vital support whilst ensuring that our teams of volunteers, staff and, most importantly, our beneficiaries remain protected.

  • Operating as our ‘front door’ is our confidential helpline Forcesline’. While our team of advisors work entirely remotely now, they continue to provide an uninterrupted telephone, email and webchat facility for those who need support or reassurance, signposting to specialist services as requires. Concern over isolation, debt-related problems and accessing services is a growing issue that they are managing closely.

  • On the ground, our UK-wide branch volunteering network continues to support at a local level. Conversations are happening using intranet, Skype, Teams, email and phone to ensure that we can achieve this without face-to-face meetings. Locally, our younger volunteers are on hand to support the community with tasks such as shopping and collecting medicine, as well as being available for phone calls to check in on the vulnerable and isolated members of the military community.

  • Alongside this, we are keeping as many of our residential facilities open as safely possible including Gildea House, a refuge for women and children who are victims of domestic violence, Fisher House which supports the families of those in military hospital and currently offering additional housing for those NHS staff based in Birmingham, and Queen Alexandra Court which provides independent living to over 70 elderly individuals.

  • Meanwhile, our unique adoption service has introduced virtual adoption assessment panels for future adoptive military couples. Our post-adoption support workers have been creating and sharing online resources and games with adoptive families to help during this time, whilst general support and guidance is very much available as usual via remote channels. Preparations are being made to hit the ground running as soon as lockdown is lifted so that we can continue with this vital work.

  • Glasgow Helping Heroes, our facility in central Glasgow run in partnership with Glasgow City Council, continues to provide critical support to vulnerable veterans and their families.

  • Our mentors, helping those transitioning out of the Armed Forces, are busier than ever, as the society that recent service leavers are re-joining is more difficult to navigate than ever under these circumstances.

  • SSAFA’s health care and social work staff are working flat out, providing critical support to servicemen and women – and their families, in Germany, North West Europe, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Brunei, Canada, the Falkland Islands and on all United Kingdom Royal Air Force stations under testing and most stressful conditions.
I am immensely proud and grateful to our team of volunteers and staff, who have come together with determination and resilience in the face of this pandemic. Despite a concerning climate, the men and women who make up the beating heart of our charity are rallying to ensure that support is given to anyone in need. A sense of community spirit and collective grit has shone through – and I have heard this likened to the sentiments felt by the Nation during the Blitz.

I urge anyone from the military community in need of SSAFA’s support to come forward, we were there then and we are here now. Being socially distanced does not mean that you are on your own.

- Sir Andrew Gregory, Controller, SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity

 24 March 2020

Due to COVID-19 in order to protect our volunteers and staff, SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity’s central office, Queen Elizabeth House, will be closed until further notice. As far as possible all of our services will continue with all appropriate measures taken to ensure volunteers, staff and beneficiaries are protected. Key to this is the ongoing cooperation between the caseworking organisations and benevolent funds with the sector to ensure that appropriate processes and grants are still able to continue to meet the needs of our community.

Our healthcare professionals, social workers and support staff delivering contracted support to the RAF in UK,  and to the wider Armed Forces in Germany and the European Joint Support Unit (EJSU), in Cyprus and in other locations including Brunei, Gibraltar, Canada, Kenya, Falkland Islands (and more) are working hard to ensure the provision of uninterrupted health and social work/welfare services.

Military Wives Choirs, a subsidiary of SSAFA, have closed all their choirs, cancelled all performances and rehearsals but are continuing to provide a welfare network to around 2,500 service women, dependants and some veterans. They are working hard on supporting via virtual rehearsals and delivering a virtual network, with lots of sharing of great initiatives. 

 18 March 2020

As you are probably aware, the current situation is changing by the hour and we are in close contact with our Volunteers and staff who provide all of our services, ensuring that they are supported as much as possible in these unprecedented times.

A number of events SSAFA was connected with have been cancelled or postponed, we are in the process of making sure anyone connected with these events is aware.

For the series of events around VE Day 75 we want to reassure you that we are working closely with Pageantmaster Bruno Peek, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as well as the organisers of our VE Day 75 concert at the Royal Albert Hall. The safety and health of our supporters and beneficiaries is our first priority and will keep all of those involved as up to date as we possibly can with any developments.

If you were due to participate in an event or activity in the coming weeks, you will hear from our teams directly with further information.

17 March

We know that this is a period of uncertainty for our country, as we await further instruction from the government on how best to deal with this outbreak - but SSAFA commits to facing this challenge with bravery and efficiency. We are actively adapting our services in order to continue delivering the standard of support that we are so proud of.

We are fortunate that, thanks to phones, emails, Skype and remote access solutions, the majority of our work can be kept going with minimal disruption. We are in constant contact with our volunteer network to ensure it is operating safely while ensuring that we do everything we can to protect our clients, our volunteers and our staff members. On a daily basis, key protocols are being reviewed to ensure that SSAFA continues to function safely and smartly. As time moves on, there may be some temporary changes made to how we conduct ‘business as usual’ – but we are committed to communicating these changes in a clear and timely manner.

SSAFA has historically prided itself in the ability to adapt to changing horizons – and our strong 135 year legacy is testament to this. We are confident that SSAFA will continue to respond to this challenge confidently and safely.

We would also like to clarify that the Forcesline helpline (0800 731 4880) and live chat service will remain open during this period.

Thank you for your continued support.

Please feel free to call our Forcesline if you need any support.

0800 731 4880

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