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

    Nia Williams

    Caseworker, Press and Publicity Officer SSAFA Clwyd, UK | 21 Apr 2017

     

    I was brought up in a small village in North Wales. I had no Armed Forces connection, save for my paternal grandfather who had died six months before I was born having fought in the First World War and my uncle doing National Service in the RAF. My father had been refused for National Service, due to him having perforated eardrums! When I became friends with Elwyn Own Jones MBE back in 1987, little did I know it was to be the start of a 29 year friendship and also the beginning of my association with SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. We met when I became involved with Rhyl Silver Band, Elwyn and his wife Flo took a 17 year old me under their wing. At the time Elwyn, a former LAC in the RAF, was Branch Secretary for SSAFA Clwyd. I would spend time with Elwyn and became interested in the voluntary work he was doing with SSAFA. Elwyn encouraged me by telling me I could become a caseworker when I passed my driving test. So, when I passed my driving test in 1994, he duly signed me up for the SSAFA caseworker course. In February 1994, at the age of 24, I found myself on a floating hotel in Northwich learning the skills to become a SSAFA caseworker. I’m a fluent Welsh speaker and worked as a caseworker in the Colwyn Division, under the guidance of Laurette Danson MBE and took over from her as Divisional Secretary for a short time. I also helped Elwyn with Branch Secretary duties and became Assistant Branch Secretary - as I was the only person that could manage his archaic Amstrad Computer! I continued my volunteering and managed to gain employment based on my SSAFA experience. Then in 2002, with eight years experience as a SSAFA caseworker behind me, I went to Manchester University to train for Social Work. A lot of the cases I had in those early years involved mainly Second World War veterans, or their widows, and were usually for funeral expenses, white goods or utility bills. Today casework has changed a great deal, with much more challenging cases and a necessity to be much more eclectic in funds approached. In those early days the Form 9 (as Form A was then) was filled in by hand and posted out to fund holders. Now most of SSAFA casework is done on the CMS system. Many individuals have had a great influence on me during my time with SSAFA, from Elwyn to Wally Andrews, Gaynor Roberts, Graham Binnie and current Division Secretary Maurice Sambrook. I’m really happy to now to be part of the Executive Committee as Branch Press and Publicity Officer. I’d like to record my thanks to Branch Chairman, Squadron Leader Gordon Massey, Branch Secretary, John MacLennan and Branch Treasurer, Brian Stapleton, as well as Colin Bush, former Branch Treasurer for their continued friendship and support, because SSAFA Clwyd is a close knit team and very supportive of their volunteers. SSAFA has given me invaluable casework experience and experience of dealing with people in crisis which has helped in my choice of career. I am a Qualified Social Worker and in September 2017 I will be starting my MA in Clinical Counselling at Chester University. None of this would have been possible without my experience of volunteering for SSAFA over the past 23 years. I have met people at their best and people at their worst. I have gained in confidence and skills and have had doors opened to me employment wise and socially. Being a SSAFA volunteer has changed my life for the better. I never thought I would still be volunteering for SSAFA but I am and I can't see that changing anytime soon I enjoy the work and am committed to helping people. Elwyn who got me into SSAFA passed away in 2012, he was like a father figure to me and I also continue to volunteer for SSAFA in his memory.

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VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCES Next

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

    Irene McCallum

    Renfrewshire, United Kingdom | 28 Apr 2017

     

    I volunteered for SSAFA 30 years ago when approached by a friend who was involved. I had no idea what it was all about, but I soon found out! My father volunteered for the RAF in 1942 at the age of 38 although he was in a reserved occupation and with a wife and 3 children. He was posted to Air Sea Rescue initially and finished up in Air Traffic Control in Scotland before demob in 1946. My late husband also served in the RAF during National Service. My idea was that if they could do something to help, so could I. It has been, and continues to be, very rewarding. I have, as you can imagine, many varied stories of cases over the years - but where to begin?

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