SSAFA (pronounced SA-FA), formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, is a British-based charity that offers help and support to all serving members and former members of all ranks of the United Kingdom British Armed Forces and their families or dependents.
James Gildea founded the Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association in 1885. In 1919, after the establishment of the Royal Air Force (in 1918), the organisation expanded support to become the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA). 1n 1997, SSAFA Forces Help was established when two charities, the "Forces Help Society" and "SSAFA", merged. On 10 April 2013, the charity's name changed to SSAFA as part of a rebranding aimed at improving awareness of the organisation's work amongst members of the armed forces community.
The objects for which the Association is established and incorporated are to relieve the need, suffering and distress of the following persons:
- a. Members and former members of all ranks of all Branches of Our Land, Sea and Air Forces ("anyone who has ever served");
- b. Wives, former wives, husbands, former husbands, families, widows, widowers, children and other dependants of the members and former members of all ranks of all Branches of Our Land, Sea and Air Forces.
- c. Members and former members of the Mercantile Marine who sailed under Admiralty Charter and their dependants;
- d. Members and former members of the Nursing Services of all Branches of Our Land, Sea and Air Forces, and of the Association's Professional Nursing and Welfare Service;
- e. British members of the Palestine Police Force who served in World War II and their dependants;
- f. Citizens of our United Kingdom, currently stationed overseas in Service establishments, and having the status of being part of the Armed Forces, both while they are stationed abroad and during their repatriation for a period ending no more than six months following their return to the United Kingdom.
With the money raised, SSAFA can offer a range of support services:
- Ensure their services overseas and in the UK are maintained and developed,
- Recruit volunteers to spend time with families and serving personnel,
- Support Stepping Stones homes for young families coping with change,
- Support national awareness campaigns to reach those in need,
- Supply training for volunteers within the UK branch network,
- Run the Norton Homes, providing accommodation for families of injured Service Personnel,
- Run National support groups for bereaved families and families of injured service personnel.
In Foyle's War series six, episode 3 ("All Clear"), Sam volunteers with SSAFA, at Foyle's suggestion.
- Army Benevolent Fund
- British Army
- RAF Benevolent Fund
- Royal Air Force
- Royal Air Forces Association
- Royal Navy
- Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity
- The Royal British Legion