SSAFA’s Together Project, which aims to better support lonely and isolated veterans, has been boosted by a £100,000 donation from the National Lottery Community Fund…

There has been a growing need to tackle loneliness and isolation amongst veterans, with 41 per cent of working age veterans admitting they have experienced loneliness and isolation in 2017. A further 31% said they have only one or no close friends. In response to this need, some SSAFA volunteers have introduced veterans’ groups to bring individuals together and ease the feelings of isolation.

The National Lottery Community Fund will go towards developing and sustaining five established groups across SSAFA’s local branches. The areas that are involved in the initial stages of SSAFA’s Together Project include Romford, Southend, Port Talbot, Gloucestershire and Morley. The groups have been chosen due to the high number of veterans in the local communities.

The fund will also provide SSAFA with a dedicated staff member who provide guidance to volunteers and develop a framework which allows flexibility for local need. The fund will also aid the recruitment and training of dedicated volunteers and gives SSAFA the opportunity to explore the potential for similar activities in other areas of need.

Sophie Nathan, Together Project lead, said: “The impact of feeling lonely or isolated can be devastating, and many of our volunteer caseworkers are finding that our beneficiaries are seeking help far too late. The project aims to bring veterans and service leavers together to ease the feelings of loneliness and isolation but also prevent those feelings from surfacing.”