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VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCES

  • Dear Friends/Family, I would like to share a page with you which has been created in the $bookTitle$. To view the page please click on the following link: $findContributionLink$ SSAFA Volunteers Online Book https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/SSAFA/Contributions/Find/VOLUNTEEREXP/mikedonne
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/SSAFA/Contributions/Find/VOLUNTEEREXP/mikedonne

    Mike Donne

    Durham, | 7 May 2017

     

    I joined SSAFA as a caseworker in late 2003, when I retired for the first time, so that I could give something back to service that formed my life. I was brought up in a military family, my Father being a soldier so consequently my early life was one of moving around the world every few years. My schooling was, in the main, at military schools in Germany, Cyprus and Malaya with attendance at civilian schools when we were stationed in England. At the age of 15 years and 2 months I joined the Army in Singapore and was sent on two weeks unpaid leave before returning to the UK and going to the Army Apprentices School in Carlisle from 1963 until 1966. I passed out as a vehicle mechanic in the REME and served with the colours for nine years, in LAD's (Light Aid Detachments)with 5 Regiment Royal Artillery, 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Rangers and 113 Provost Company Royal Military Police. I then left and changed my uniform to that of HM Prison Service for the next 28 years plus, retiring for the aforementioned first time as a Governor in 2003. When I did return to work in the private sector in a completely different job I continued with volunteering for SSAFA. During this time I had a ministerial appointment for 5 years with the North East War Pensioners Committee. I also was a member of TRBL in the role of Branch Secretary and the County Committee. I did many cases for the Legion but always under the SSAFA flag! I did leave the Legion when I became the Branch Secretary for Durham in January 2013. I held that position until 1 September 2014 when I became the Branch Chairman, which I still am today. In 2016 I applied for the Volunteer Advisory Committee and was accepted as a member. At the end of 2016 I was approached to see if I would become the North East Regional Representative and after due consultation with my wife Ruth, I accepted and was appointed in March 2017. Despite what appears to be a heavy commitment I baby sit the Wear Valley Division as the Divisional Secretary and still do some casework too. Ruth is the Divisional Treasurer and she indicated that such things are good for me to do! One of the delights I find in volunteering is that firstly you are your own Master and you can do as much or as little as you want. Secondly to be able to help those who have served their country and now find themselves in need is very rewarding. After each case I have completed I always take some time out for reflection and always come away with the same answer - don't complain Mike, life has dealt you a pretty good hand so far. During all of the different types of volunteering in the veterans world the words 'thank you' from a beneficiary make me feel proud - proud to have served them and made a difference to their life. Having worked with people both in the Prison Service and later in a Contract Service company I built up inter-personal, people management and administrative skills. SSAFA allows me to use those skills to best advantage in all of the roles that I am involved with as well as being able to pass on my knowledge and experience to other volunteers. One of my proudest moments is encouraging my now wife Ruth to volunteer for SSAFA, whilst she was still a serving officer. Her role as a Personnel Recovery Officer looking after the wounded, injured and sick has helped me to understand the more modern soldier. I am sure that it is a generational thing but the Army today is vastly different to the one I served in. Over the years I have met up with so many people that I would never have met had I not been involved with SSAFA. The different range of volunteers backgrounds is amazing and the common bond of wanting to help our beneficiaries is very special. To a person who might be thinking of volunteering for SSAFA I say this: It is very rewarding and can be very humbling but being with the Rolls Royce of the military charities is very special. The photograph is taken on board HMS Bulwark, Durham's adopted ship, in Sunderland 2016.

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VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCES

  • Dear Friends/Family, I would like to share a page with you which has been created in the $bookTitle$. To view the page please click on the following link: $findContributionLink$ SSAFA Volunteers Online Book https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/SSAFA/Contributions/Find/VOLUNTEEREXP/janelazenby
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/SSAFA/Contributions/Find/VOLUNTEEREXP/janelazenby

    Jane Lazenby

    Bury st edmunds, United Kingdom | 8 May 2017

     

    I have been a SSAFA caseworker for nearly seven years now. My father was a Head of Army schools and I remember him speaking of the 'SSAFA lady' coming to talk about a certain child at his school. Also my son served in the Army for several years. I absolutely love the work and would highly recommend it to anyone who has the time, the compassion and the ability to relate to all sorts of clients and their circumstances. The variety of people and problems we come across makes it ever-changing and each case is interesting. I have had some amazing results for clients from art materials to allow beginning a new future at college, to deep-cleaning of an elderly gentleman's home and re-decorating the bungalow of an ex-soldier with no legs. Always hugely satisfying and gratifying for all concerned, especially me.

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