LETTER: Vital support

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SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing vital support for our troops, veterans and their families for 131 years and is the oldest, national military charity in the UK.

While attention can often be focused on the problems faced by older, retired veterans, SSAFA has identified a group of working-age veterans between 16 and 64 years of age who are living in pretty desperate circumstances. Although most troops transition well, these men and women are not fulfilling their potential in civilian life and their plight is too easily ignored. In 2005, 25% of the people SSAFA supported locally across the UK were under 60 years of age, ten years later; this figure had risen to over 40%, showing a trend in more, younger veterans needing support, however many of these younger veterans who are being helped by SSAFA tell us that for a long time after leaving the Armed Forces, they felt too proud to ask for help. SSAFA’s current ‘Got Your Back’ campaign is encouraging vulnerable veterans, to come forward for help. We understand that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen are resilient characters. Whilst serving the nation they become fitter, more robust and more self-sufficient; they are rightly proud of their role and of themselves. If any of your readers are in need of support and they are veterans or currently serving members of the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force, or indeed their family members, please would you assist encouraging them to contact SSAFA’s confidential Forcesline on 0800 731 4880 or email via https://www.ssafa.org.uk/gotyourback SSAFA feels very strongly that members of our Armed Forces and their families have ‘had our backs’ and now we must, whenever necessary, protect theirs.

Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory, KBE CB

chief executive, SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association), the Armed Forces charity

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