I received an email today from Director Corporate Communications and Marketing at SSAFA Forces Help, a charity that not only do I volunteer for but also sing in the local Military wives choir when I get chance. Its an easy going but of fun and Padre Robin babysits whilst the mums have a laugh singing sounds and actually at the end of it not sounding half bad considering that half of us sing like strangled cats : D
"I am sure that you are already aware that the MWC single ‘Wherever You Are’ became the Christmas Number 1 in 2011. You may have seen in the national media last week that the single raised a total of £503,985 for its two nominated charities, SSAFA Forces Help and The Royal British Legion. Whilst we are yet to receive any of the proceeds, this clearly is fantastic news. I know that everyone associated with the project is enormously grateful to all the people who promoted and bought ‘Wherever You Are’.
"Work has now begun to establish a network of choirs across military communities. The vision is that wives, partners and family members can immediately join a choir, free of charge, wherever they are posted. It is a very positive project that, at its heart, is all about improving the lives of military communities."
I am also a member of the royal British legion (Riders Branch) and these 2 charity do an amazing amount of work and support for serving soldiers and veterans alike. One of SSAFAs tag lines is: "A day of service a lifetimes support" because if you have any connection with the military in your family they will support you. I cannot begin to explain the work they do as it is so vast but it does including suppling white goods and help with housing to newly resettled familys (out of the forces and onto "civi street"), medical care for families posted abroad and they also own and run 2 large rehab homes for injured service men and their family's. On a much smaller scale I work as an in-service volunteer, helping out family's who are struggling with new postings or long deployment- this ranges from dog walking to counselling.
All this work is so worth while, it helps so many people on so many levels, SSAFA are by far the most useful/support charity for military families. In comparison Help for Heroes has stashes of cash sitting in the bank, their chairmen have 150k salaries and won't and help soldiers injured or signed up before 2001 BUT in the past 10 years they have been largely responsible for raising awareness for the poor rehabilitation and care available for wounded veterans. Some people disagree with help for heroes and other such charities because the forces should "look after their own" but my previous point shows how these charities have played a major role in creating this public awareness. Prior to this, the MOD had under-resourced these services because they could so any improvement is beneficial.