THE military charity SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) has an office based in south west France, that provides practical, financial and emotional support whenever anyone turns to them for help.
Here branch secretary, Lesley Blake, writes about the charity's work and how you can help the organisation through volunteering some of your time:
Did you know that SSAFA (formerly Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) is the oldest UK military charity? It is true - we have been helping both in-service and ex-service personnel and their families since 1885.
SSAFA is based in the UK, however there are branches in several parts of the world, including Germany, Cyprus and also here in France.
SSAFA France, based in Castillones, Lot et Garonne, covers the whole of France and our aim is to assist former members of UK Forces who have settled in France and now face financial hardship, often through circumstances beyond their control.
Our dedicated volunteer caseworkers help over 100 families each year throughout France; however there is a continuing and growing need for assistance, which in turn leads to a need for more caseworkers.
There is special urgency for more caseworkers in the following areas :
Northern France - Brittany, Le Mans area, Nord Pas Calais, Picardie, Seine Maritime and Ville-dieu des Poles
Central France - Angoulême , Auxerre, Bourges/Nevers, Chalais, Clermont-Ferrand, Poitiers
South Western/Southern France - Bergerac, Castillones areas
Do you have some spare time and would you be willing to help us to help others? Professional training is given during a residential course in London and reasonable travel expenses are paid. It is not necessary for you to have social working experience or a military background.
We would be very pleased to hear from you if you feel that you would be able to assist us. For more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kindly also contact us at France@ssafa.org.uk or phone 0033 (0)5 53 24 92 38 if you are a former member of HM forces in need of assistance from SSAFA France.