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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/jumahmpakulah
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/SSAFA/Contributions/Find/VOLUNTEEREXP/jumahmpakulah

    Jumah Mpakulah

    Cardiff, United Kingdom | 30 Apr 2017

     

    As an Ex-Services member and volunteer for SSAFA, it has been so amazing to share my experience with people surrounding me and to encourage one another for great job we are doing.

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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/fredwest
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/SSAFA/Contributions/Find/VOLUNTEEREXP/fredwest

    Fred West

    Coads Green, | 1 May 2017

     

    In 2008 I was living in the South of France, where we had been 7 years after taking early retirement, when the world began to go pear shaped and my Euros didn’t go as far as I would have liked, so I contacted SSAFA France for advice. Unfortunately they couldn’t help me but asked if I could help them. They said they had no SSAFA presence in the South East of France and asked me if I would consider being a caseworker. To be honest after serving 24 years in the Royal Navy most of it as a submariner I didn’t know a lot about SSAFA or its work it did but hey, I was enjoying being in France the climate where we lived was good, we had a nice house nice French neighbours so why didn’t I bring a little good to others. Little did I know what the future was to bring… First there was a course to be done. Well that’s OK if you only have to get to London from some where in the UK but the South of France! I made it to London did the course and returned home where my SSAFA adventure started. Being the only caseworker ‘in the area’ I was quickly given a task to visit a lady whose husband had recently died of cancer. I should just add her that Mrs Lady didn’t live ‘just down the road’ but 380 Km away. Anyway, she lived alone in a big old water mill and to be honest she was struggling. Albeit living in France for 15 years, her French was non existent. She relied on her husband to parle with the natives so making friends was her biggest concern plus she was struggling to make ends meet. I arrived at her home just before midday and spent three hours with her, eventually ‘escaping’ for home at about three o’clock. When I didn’t arrive home at 5 o’clock as promised, my wife started to worry. Anyway this was my first case and more came to fruition. I travelled miles in my first year for SSAFA through out the South East of France and that really was an adventure. After ten years in France we decided to come back to Blighty Why? Heaven only knows but we wished now we had stayed!! In 2012 we landed in Cornwall and after being taken on as a caseworker for the Cornish Branch the post of Divisional Secretary came up for mid Cornwall. I applied for the post and I got the job. I had two caseworkers one was as a newbie so the first year was an experience of lots of jobs and no one to do them but we managed. I have been Divisional Secretary for 5 years and now have 7 caseworkers and to be honest they are all brilliant. I can’t sing their praises high enough. We have had weird. We have had distressing. We have had difficult. We have had down right cheeky. But all the cases have been conducted with professionalism compassion and most times with enthusiasm. What do I like about volunteering? Meeting people, listening to their stories. I met a lady an ex Leading WREN that worked at Bletchley with Alan Turing during the war. A real lovely person whose husband died and left her with so much debt but she was such a joy a real inspiration to those that think they are suffering in today’s financial climate. I met another lady who wanted help to visit the POW camp in Nagasaki where her father survived not only the sinking of HMS Exeter the battle of the Java sea, the dropping of the first Atom bomb on Nagasaki but three and a half years in the POW camp. He died at the grand old age of 91. Now there is a tale of survival if ever there was one. These people make what SSAFA does as worthwhile. SSAFA isn’t just about helping those that have returned from Afghanistan or Iraq albeit be it these guys do need help its about helping the whole family of serving and ex service people from every conflict we have been involved in. I think some times that people forget about the family and what they go thru or even suffer when a loved one is lost or suffers as a result of serving their country but SSAFA doesn’t. That’s what we are here for cos that’s what we do.

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