SSAFA’s Mentoring service witnessed a 94% increase in requests for support in 2020, supporting nearly 750 members of the Armed Forces community, include Armed Forces personnel, veterans and family members. The service provides support to serving members of the Armed Forces, their families and spouses who are transitioning to civilian life, providing long-term, one-to-one support for up to two years post-discharge.  

SSAFA’s Mentoring service is on hand to help those who struggle to transition to civilian life, providing long-term, one-to-one support. Available for up to two years post-discharge, it helps build confidence and motivation as well advising on accommodation, careers and finances.

The Mentoring programme was initially launched in 2014 to support individuals discharged from military service as wounded, injured or sick (WIS).

It was expanded after a trial at Catterick Garrison to include non-WIS personnel and their families, with trial-mentees reporting a 31% increase in self-happiness, a 35% drop in social isolation and more than 20% uplift in their financial and housing stability.

Since the service’s inception in 2014, over 1,500 people have received support through the scheme. 

The pandemic saw SSAFA swap face-to-face meetings and roadshows for Zoom linkups and phone calls – whilst some other organisations reduced their mentoring services, SSAFA witnessed an increase with this flexible approach. 

Despite lockdowns, SSAFA trained 79 new mentors to support the Armed Forces community, including families. No one mentor is the same, with individuals from all backgrounds volunteering to support our Mentoring service.

In 2020, Jamie McGuin received support from SSAFA’s Mentoring service after he was medically discharged with a back injury following a successful eleven-year Royal Navy career. 

At the height of the pandemic, with no job, no accommodation or support network, Jamie turned to SSAFA for help. Now, with tailored advice from his mentor, he has landed a job in telecoms and is about to purchase his first home. 

Jamie said: 

“I needed something solid to fall back on and felt like SSAFA could help me reach the right point. I connected with SSAFA’s Mentoring Service Manager and was assigned my own mentor, Barry. 

“When we first spoke, I realised how much I had to do. Practical and compassionate, Barry got me to write everything down in steps – creating a pragmatic timeline.

“Being ex-Forces, Barry knew what it was like to leave the military. He gave non-biased advice, listened openly and really helped me out. The sessions gave me a kick up the backside! 

Having started the mentoring process, Jamie rapidly progressed: 

“Barry gave me advice on some strong industries in terms of job security and opportunity. He was able to offer advice and empower me to think for myself.

“I reached out to a few places for help, but SSAFA opened its arms to me straightaway. It’s worked for me.”

If you or someone you know would like to access mentoring support or become a mentor, visit ssafa.org.uk/mentoring, email mentoring@ssafa.org.uk or call Forcesline on 0800 260 6767.