Main words, photos and images courtesy of SSAFA
Ant Middleton Fund launched to help SSAFA to get veterans get back on their feet
Veterans who struggle to adapt to life after their military service, can often find themselves in desperate circumstances; suffering from long-term physical or mental problems, unable to find work or suitable housing and without enough money for daily living expenses.
Ant Middleton, star of SAS Who Dares Wins and Special Forces veteran, has teamed up with SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, to launch the Ant Middleton Fund, to help veterans get back on their feet as they return to civilian life. Ant turned to SSAFA for support, when he struggled to cope with civilian life after leaving the military. He experienced first-hand the challenges servicemen and women face when they return to civvy street, and he ended up on the wrong side of the law, in prison, and struggling to support his family. However, he was able to get through this with the support of SSAFA.
The Ant Middleton Fund has been launched to ensure that other veterans get the support he did. The money raised will help SSAFA provide a lifeline for veterans and their families as they adjust to civilian life through its transition services.
Ant, speaking about the launch of the fund, said:
“The Ant Middleton Fund is a call to action. I want change, so we can stop reading stories of veterans unable to get the support they need. I’m hopeful that together we can put an end to unnecessary suffering of those who risked their lives for our safety.
“I thought my transition was going to be easy, but I quickly found myself in a really bad place. After years of putting myself through my paces to be the strongest I could be, both physically and mentally, I felt defeated. It took a lot, but I have put that time behind me, learnt from it and SSAFA were there to support me through it.
“I wanted to set up the Ant Middleton Fund to help people going through similar situations to what I went through, to prevent others from experiencing this, and also to raise awareness of the support that is needed. Please donate to help our veterans get back on their feet.”
In order to clarify the aims of the new fund, TMT spoke to SSAFA who explained that the Ant Middleton Fund is not a separate, new charitable organisation. It is a fundraising (and publicity) campaign set up by Ant Middleton to raise awareness of, and increase funding for, SSAFA’s existing Transition Services. These services are intended to support Service Personnel leaving the Forces and who can find themselves facing all sorts of difficulties, sometimes ending up in getting into trouble with the authorities, living on the streets, or worse. With the extra funds raised by Ant Middleton’s initiative, SSAFA intends to improve the level and quality of its activities across the four main areas which are explained below.
SSAFA Mentoring: https://www.ssafa.org.uk/help-you/currently-serving/mentoring
SSAFA Mentoring helps motivate, support and empower service leavers and their family fulfil their potential in their new lives outside the military.
SSAFA provides one-to-one support during transition onto Civvy Street and afterwards for up to one year.
SSAFA Mentoring can offer:
- Readily accessible one-to-one support throughout your transition into civilian life
- A dedicated and trusted mentor who gives you space to explore your ideas and feelings
- Unconditional and consistent collaboration from another person to help you reflect on your strengths
- Support to draw on your own strengths, develop your own strategies and work out your own values.
- Help for your family
SSAFA Prison in-Reach: https://www.ssafa.org.uk/help-you/veterans/support-offenders-and-ex-offenders
SSAFA is committed to providing serving personnel and veterans in prison and their families with lifelong support, however their circumstances may have changed.
SSAFA Housing Advice: https://www.ssafa.org.uk/help-you/veterans/housing-advice
SSAFA is here to give practical housing advice and support to veterans and their dependents.
Our expert Housing Advisors offer impartial guidance around housing issues for those who have left the Armed Forces. Our guidance includes homelessness, housing benefits, accessing social housing, tenants’ rights, mortgage arrears, repossession and eviction.
SSAFA Debt Advice: https://www.ssafa.org.uk/help-you/veterans/debt-advice
After leaving the Forces, some ex-service personnel find themselves in financial trouble. SSAFA can give you the support you need.
If you have fallen behind on your bills, credit cards or other payments and you are struggling to get by or even at risk of losing your home, then your local SSAFA team can help you to get advice on dealing with your debt.
Gary Williams, Head of Specialist Services, SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said:
“When a serviceman or woman leaves the military, their entire life changes at once. For the first time they may find themselves without a steady income, access to suitable housing or the support network they have become reliant on during their military service. Last year, SSAFA supported 73,000 people in their hour of need. From what can seem like small requests for help to the bigger, more life-changing asks, SSAFA is there for the Armed Forces community. The Ant Middleton Fund will ensure SSAFA can provide service leavers and their families with the tools they need for a successful return to civilian life. Please support Ant in any way that you can.”
Donate to the Ant Middleton Fund by visiting www.ssafa.org.uk/AMF
At the heart of The Military Times is a desire to try and help anyone facing problems as a result of their time in the Forces. One thing that we have set out to do is to support charities that work for the Services. However, we are also aware that there are so many charities out there that it can be hard to find your way around what is “on offer”. Who do you actually turn to for help? And what might they be able to offer? Is a local charity a better bet than a large, nationwide organisation? What is Veterans Gateway and what do Cobseo do?
We would really like to hear from anyone who is being supported, or has been supported in this way, or indeed anyone who has found it difficult to get the help they wanted. A PXR or AAR if you like. We will treat any such information with care – but want to be able to use any lessons learned to help others in future.
In addition, we welcome comment from those providing the support, most of the time as a result of the generosity of members of the public, to whom we, as sometime Service-Leavers, all owe a great debt of thanks.
Please either use the “Comments” section at the end of the article, or use the “Contact Us” info at the bottom right of the main page to send us an email, or call us if you would like to tell us about your experiences of leaving the forces, or indeed any other aspect of this issue. .
We look forward to hearing from you.