Military charity receives award from the Queen

THE Sussex branch of the UK’s oldest military charity has received a prestigious award.

Lord Lieutenant for West Sussex Susan Pyper presents the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
Lord Lieutenant for West Sussex Susan Pyper presents the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

Peter Field, the Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, presented a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2015 to SSAFA (the Soldiers, Sailors & Airmen Families Association) Sussex at its Quebec Barracks in Brighton on Monday, July 27.

The group was told it is extremely rare for such a small division to receive such a prestigious award from the Queen.

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Ray Harris, a fundraiser for the group, said: “Alan Tait gave a wonderful speech to about 50 SSAFA representatives who were able to be present for the ceremony from across the Sussex area.

“It praised all the volunteers and members of staff involved for all their hard work, dedication and support which helped to make this award possible.

“Waitrose was kind enough to donate the buffet lunch and refreshments for after the event.”

SSAFA Worthing covers the area from Rustington to Brighton, and helps all serving and ex-serving military personnel and their families.

Ray said the group has many cases which go unnoticed, but to the individual who benefits from the help, it gives them a new lease of life.

He sited an example of a man who was totally housebound and unable to get equipment from the NHS.

He called SSAFA and explained he was an ex-services member and required equipment which the NHS could not fund.

From receiving the call, a case worker visited him to assess his requirements and we supplied him with a new electric mobile scooter. This was done within three days of the initial call. He is now never at home and is enjoying his new-found freedom in his home town of Worthing.

Ray added: “So feel free to contact us if you require further information and we would be happy to help. We are all volunteers, mostly ex-service personnel, giving up our time to support this very worthwhile cause.

“We are self-funding and all monies raised stays in the local area for our local clients. We are always looking for funding, sponsorship and collection at local events as well as recruiting new volunteers.”

The Queens Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities.

The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s golden jubilee and winners are announced each year on June 2 – the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.

SSAFA Sussex was one of 187 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the award this year. The number of awards handed out to groups has increased by more than 60 per cent from 2014. This is due to an increase in high-quality applications, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving.

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