At The Soldiers’ Charity, we know how important the family ‘unit’ can be to our soldiers. The future for our army is uncertain, the number of serving soldiers returning from combat zones with injuries is decreasing, shifting our focus towards the re-establishment and rebuilding of the family unit. We provide support for families in areas like education, housing, employment and well-being to facilitate a prosperous, stable future for our soldiers and their families affected by Army life. With our involvement and support, the Army family manifests itself in numerous ways as part of a wider network of coordinated responses with other charities and organisations, to which we provide financial assistance.
How do we help?
We support soldiers and veterans from every conflict, and their immediate families making grants to individuals through their Regiments and Corps. This support for everyday things enables soldiers and their loved ones to live with independence and dignity. Our help ranges from assistance with care home fees, to funding a training course for someone moving to civilian life, or adapting a soldier’s home if they’ve been injured. Although we aim to provide help within 48 hours, if a soldier or their family is facing a night without food or shelter, we’ll be there immediately. The scope of our work is huge. Last year the oldest person we helped was a 107-year-old World War II widow, who needed support with her care home fees. The youngest was a two-year-old child of a serving soldier who needed specialist medical equipment.
Our military charity family:
The Soldiers’ Charity prides itself on supporting the great work of many other good causes. We have a positive effect on the lives of 70,000 people each year with our charitable grants, which make up nearly 80% of all our grant expenditure.
We have supported ASAP (The Armed Services Advice Project) which delivers information, advice and support to members of the Armed Forces community through a helpline and face-to-face casework since its launch in 2010. Recently, a grant of £51,500 was given to ASAP. Last year ASAP managed to help 1,876 Army families with issues of income, housing and employment.
We also fund specialist roles at the AFF (Army Families Federation), which works hard to improve the quality of life for Army families around the world on any aspect affected by the Army lifestyle. Their team of specialists delves deeper into the issues Service families may be experiencing, and connects with other organisations to improve their lives. Needs including healthcare and specialist educational needs are provided to families by sourcing appropriate contacts. The AFF also ensures that military spouses are not disadvantaged because of the solders’ Service. The Soldiers’ Charity provides the AFF with an annual grant to fund these specialist roles.
Keeping the family safe
Former infantryman Stewart Harris served with 1st Battalion The Welsh Guards. After being left with brain damage and a diagnosis of PTSD following a tour of Afghanistan in 2012, Stewart left the Army after more than 10 years’ service.
While Stewart and his family were still struggling to come to terms with his diagnosis, they were the victims of a burglary. Stewart became too afraid to leave the house or take his medication for fear it would affect his alertness. His sleep and his health began to suffer. The Soldiers’ Charity helped Stewart and his family at this upsetting time, providing them with the financial help they needed to install CCTV cameras at their home. Since then Stewart has been able to relax and his family have resumed their normal routine.
“To ask for help and then to be told ‘yes that’s going to be fine’ is absolutely amazing… the weight of the world was taken off my shoulders.”
Family support through injury
Whilst out on patrol during his second tour of Afghanistan with 1st Battalion The Scots Guards, Gary Jamieson’s platoon entered an IED field. One of the devices detonated and Gary lost both legs above the knee and his left arm above the elbow. In order to help Gary, his wife Claire, and their three children cope with his life-changing injuries, The Soldiers’ Charity paid for major renovations to their home in Lanarkshire and funded the family’s stay in a nearby hotel while the work was done.
Through our Quick Reaction Fund we also helped Gary to make essential adaptations to his car and provided him with gym equipment, so he could continue his rehabilitation and fitness at home.
“You never know when you’ll need support: it could be you, or one of your muckers. But The Soldiers’ Charity is there, it’s had such a positive impact on my life.”
How to apply for help:
For more information on how to apply for help from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, visit our Grants & Welfare page.