CYPRUS

'WE HAVE PROVIDED MORE THAN 125 YEARS OF CONTINUED SUPPORT TO OUR FORCES AND THEIR FAMILIES. BUT THE WORK WE DO NOW IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN. IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT MEMBERS OF OUR FORCES AND THEIR FAMILIES KNOW THAT SSAFA IS HERE FOR THEM FOR LIFE'

CHIEF EXECUTIVE, AIR VICE MARSHALL DAVID MURRAY CVO OBE

 

AS THE UK'S OLDEST NATIONAL ARMED FORCES CHARITY, WE SHARE OUR HISTORY WITH THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE UK'S ARMED FORCES.

Over 130 years we have shown our commitment to giving our servicemen and women, veterans and their families get the best possible support when they need it.

Major (later Colonel Sir) Gildea founded the Soldiers and Sailors Families Association

 

1885  MAJOR GILDEA FOUNDS THE SOLDIERS AND SAILORS FAMILIES ASSOCIATION

When the Second Expeditionary Force set sail for Egypt in February 1885, Major (later Colonel Sir) James Gildea wrote a letter to The Times appealing for money and volunteers to help the military families left behind at home.

A fund was set up to provide allowances. Soon Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales (the future Queen Alexandra) became the first president of what was then called the Soldiers and Sailors Families Association (SSFA).

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

1892  SSAFA SETS UP A NURSING BRANCH FOR SERVING FAMILIES

Our nursing branch provided community nurses - later known as Alexandra Nurses - to look after the families of serving men in their own homes in the UK and abroad. We still provide some health services for our serving Forces today.


 

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

1905  THE ROYAL HOMES FOR OFFICERS' WIDOWS AND DAUGHTERS OPENS

Our first housing service was the Royal Homes for Officers’ Widows and Daughters in Wimbledon, southwest London, opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.


 

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

1914  SUPPORTING FAMILIES ON THE HOME FRONT

At the outbreak of World War One, the Government called on us to take care of the families of soldiers going to the Front. After five months, SSFA had paid out more than £1m from the National Relief Fund that we administered and we had 50,000 voluntary workers.


 

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

1919  SSFA BECOMES SSAFA: THE SOLDIERS, SAILORS & AIRMEN FAMILIES ASSOCIATION

Following the founding of the Royal Air Force in 1918, our president Queen Alexandra suggested the organisation should change its name to the Soldiers, Sailors & Airmen Families Association (SSAFA).


 

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

1926  OUR FIRST ROYAL CHARTER

SSAFA was granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation in January 1926. Following a review of governance, a new revised Royal Charter & Rules came into effect in January 2014.


 

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

1931  DEMAND FOR HELP RISES DURING HARD TIMES

Calls on SSAFA for help grew steadily in the 1930s due to the financial depression. We helped 25,203 families in 1931, compared with 18,368 families the previous year.

We continue to provide advice and support to families facing financial hardship today.

 


 

 

 

 

 

1941  SUPPORT FOR SERVICEMEN DURING WORLD WAR TWO

In May 1941, SSAFA opened a special office - the SSAFA Overseas Department - to deal with enquiries from serving men about the safety of their families back home. Soon after the first of many overseas bureaux, where men could discuss family problems or make enquiries about relatives, opened in Cairo in September 1941.


 

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

1944  ANSWERING MONTY'S CALL FOR HELP

In May 1941, SSAFA opened a special office - the SSAFA Overseas Department - to deal with enquiries from serving men about the safety of their families back home. Soon after the first of many overseas bureaux, where men could discuss family problems or make enquiries about relatives, opened in Cairo in September 1941.


 

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

1953  SSAFA ASSISTS PRISONERS OF WAR RETURNING FROM KOREA

At the request of the War Office, SSAFA sent a volunteer to meet British prisoners at the end of the Korean War to find out how we could help.


 

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

1982  THERE FOR FAMILIES DURING THE FALKLANDS CONFLICT

SSAFA provided support to the families of servicemen injured or killed in the Falklands. Our social workers accompanied the 541 bereaved relatives who travelled to the Falkland Islands the following year.


 

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

1982  HRH PRINCE MICHAEL OF KENT BECOMES A SSAFA PRESIDENT

Prince Michael of Kent became our fourth president. He remains in the role.

 

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

1996  WORKING WITH THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE TO PROVIIDE HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE SERVICES

The Ministry of Defence contracted SSAFA and Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust to provide health and social care services to the military community in British Forces Germany and the European Support Group. Our professional staff ensure that families have access to hospital services similar to the care available on the NHS.


 

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

2008  SSAFA NORTON HOUSE OPENS FOR FAMILIES OF INJURED SERVICE PERSONNEL

In this year, we responded to a campaign by Sue Norton and her husband, Captain Peter Norton, who was injured while serving in Iraq to provide a free ‘home away from home’ for relatives visiting injured servicemen and women.

Within months we had raised enough money to build and open a six-bedroom home in Surrey near the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. A second SSAFA Norton House opened in Selly Oak, Birmingham, in 2009 near the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.

 

SSAFA set up a nursing branch in 1892

 

 

2013  THE QUEEN OPENS SSAFA'S NEW HEADQUARTERS

Her Majesty The Queen, SSAFA’s patron for 60 years, formally opened our new central office at Queen Elizabeth House in London in November 2013.


 



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