Support for Service-leavers and Veterans

Support for Service-leavers and Veterans

Off By Ed Hanna

The best laid plans of mice and men… Even the most organised resettlement can go astray. Fortunately, there are a host of organisations dedicated to the Forces community to help get you back on track.

Most Forces-friendly charities reflect a range of the challenges that everyone faces, but with a specialist focus on helping the Forces community – with many founded and staffed by Veterans themselves.

Despite a challenging year, it’s heartening to see that their commitments are undimmed and their collective spirit undaunted.

Here are a few of the many charities and support organisations Service-leavers can turn to…

The Royal British Legion
Arguably the most well-known Military charity. For 100 years their now iconic annual poppy appeal has raised millions to help the Forces community in a vast range of ways such as providing support towards independent living, physical and mental wellbeing as well as financial and employment support.

Tel: 0808 802 8080

Poppy Scotland
Poppy Scotland help men, women and families with issues linked to their time in the Armed Forces or with struggles adjusting from Military to civilian life. Their commitment includes helping with needs that have arisen long after someone has left the Armed Forces. 

They offer a raft of support and guidance for Veterans in diverse circumstances.

Tel: 0131 550 1557

Help for Heroes
The charity helps Personnel and Service-leavers to recover from physical and/or psychological trauma and get on with their lives by providing welfare and financial support for as long as people need it. It also supports their families because they too can be affected by their loved one’s wounds.

The organisation has already supported more than 26,500 people and “won’t stop until every wounded Veteran gets the support they deserve”.

Tel: 0300 303 9888

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity
This is the national charity of the British Army, providing lifetime support to Veterans and their families in need.

They support around 70,000 people every year by awarding grants to individuals and families, as well as providing funding to around 90 charities and organisations that support the Army family.

SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity
Support is available for people at any stage in their Military career and beyond, with nobody’s Service overlooked. They have more than 5,000 trained SSAFA volunteers who provide personalised, face-to-face support to those in their local area.

Tel: 0800 731 4880

Officers’ Association
Specifically for those who have held a commission in the Armed Forces, the Officers’ Association (OA) provide guidance and support, as well as referrals, to specific Military charities and other organisations, for financial and individual support.

The OA deals with applications sensitively, promptly and in confidence. They will arrange, where necessary, home visits by OA volunteers, known as Honorary Representatives, many of whom are former officers themselves. They work closely with a grants and welfare team who remain on hand to provide practical and emotional support.

Tel: 020 7808 4175

Officers’ Association of Scotland
Scotland’s OA supports officers and their dependants in many ways, but it has consistently addressed helping officers find employment, providing advice and, in cases of need, financial support.

Tel: 0131 550 1575 / 1581

The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust
Each year The RNBT provide grants to just under 3,000 applicants ranging from under £100 up to several thousand pounds, totalling more than £1.5 million. The circumstances must involve “necessity or distress” (in the words of their Royal Charter), with the range “almost endless”.

Tel: 02392 690112

Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
This organisation supports all RAF Veterans and immediate family members with everything from injury or illness to financial hardship, disability, emotional wellbeing, transitioning back to civilian life and living independently. They will consider any request for assistance and can provide a tailor-made approach to each individual situation.

Tel: 0300 102 1919

Walking with the Wounded
This Military charity supports a pathway for disadvantaged Veterans to re-integrate back into Society and sustain their independence – with a focus on employment.

They help through programmes for vulnerable Veterans who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged by their Service. This includes providing support to homeless Veterans as well as those in the criminal justice system; areas which are often ignored.

Tel: 01263 863 900

RFEA The Forces Employment Charity
RFEA provide life-long support, jobs and training opportunities to Service-leavers, Reservists, Veterans and their families – including those who face barriers to work such as disability and other health issues, as well as people who have been unemployed for a longer period of time.

Tel: 0121 262 3058

Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a “fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism”.

This is not a specialist Forces-friendly organisation – the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. 

Tel: 0800 917 7650

Blesma The Limbless Veterans
An Armed Forces charity dedicated to Serving personnel, Veterans and their families who have suffered life-changing limb loss or the use of a limb, an eye or sight. 

Although Blesma offers general advice they can also be more specific, for instance towards members who may have been fitted for a prosthesis or are awaiting fitting. Their support staff are ideally placed to help people get the best service possible and have an in-house prosthetics expert who can assist directly with members’ prosthetic issues. 

Contact between members can be facilitated since sometimes just having someone to talk to with similar experiences can help.

Tel: 020 8590 1124

Naval Children’s Charity
When you leave the Armed Forces, it’s not just you that’s transitioning. It’s your family too. 

The Naval Children’s Charity have been supporting Naval families in making this adjustment for generations. 

The stress of returning to homelife and the rhythms of civilian life is difficult and can often lead to problems at home. 

Maybe you’re finding it hard to settle in a new place, or you’re struggling to make ends meet while searching for a job. Perhaps you’re not quite coping with your new environment, and it’s having a knock-on effect on your children’s wellbeing.  

It’s the charity’s sincere belief that to be the child of someone who is, or has been, in the Naval Service should be a positive and enhancing experience – something to be borne with pride. For those children where life is more difficult, they are here to help. 

Caseworkers handle each case carefully and discreetly, working closely alongside other likeminded charities and organisations, to make sure they can support Naval families and children when they need it most.

The charity helps over 2,000 children directly every year and connect with many thousands more through community work and other resources.

If you have Served in the Naval Service (Royal Navy, Royal Marines, QARNNS, WRNS, Reserves or Royal Fleet Auxiliary), and have a child under the age of 25, get in touch, as they may be able to help. 

Tel: 023 9263 9534

Officers Association Scotland
Looking for a job can be daunting at the best of times but when leaving the Military and entering the civilian world it can feel like a minefield, even more so during this pandemic. Scotland’s Officers’ Association aims to enhance your exceptional skills and experience to help you find that right career for you and ensure security, stability and independence for you and your family in Scotland.

Even in these challenging times we provide bespoke employment support to officers and their spouses and partners, throughout their transition and beyond. Our consultants take you on your own individualised journey, assessing your experience, analysing your abilities, reviewing the multiple sectors and then tailoring your skills to that perfect role.

Our employment package provides:
• CV/interview skills training and prep
• Monthly online training workshops and webinars (open to all ranks) 
• Monthly networking advice, opportunities and events (open to all ranks)
• NEW Scottish executive jobs board
• Quarterly employer fairs (open to all ranks)
• Access to over 500 employers across Scotland including Scot Gov and NHS
• Bursary award to enhance employment opportunities

Additionally, we provide an equally important welfare service, supporting widows, families and Veterans in times of crisis to help with debt, mobility support, respite or whatever bumps in the road you may face.

So, register today at: and become part of the Officers Association Scotland’s Family.