After leaving the military volunteering can help you give back to the Armed Force community. We speak to one veteran volunteering with SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, about his experiences helping his fellow comrades.
— SSAFA (@SSAFA) June 14, 2017
Paul Moore served in the military for 34 years before returning to civvy street and becoming self-employed.
After 18 months he had itchy feet and wanted to give back to other veterans. “I always said throughout my career I wanted to work with veterans at some point,” explains Paul. “Leaving the Army allowed me the opportunity to do that.”
When a friend asked him to get involved with SSAFA five years ago he didn’t hesitate, Paul says: “When you’re in the Forces, looking after your own guys, there’s not much time to do anything else. When I left and became self-employed, it allowed me the opportunity to work with vets.
“As soon as I got into volunteering it gave me a bit of focus.”
With experience as an Army Officer, Captain and Major, Paul started volunteering as the secretary of SSAFA’s Durham branch. Later this year he will become chairman of the branch.
Paul supports SSAFA case workers and volunteers throughout the Durham area and acts as a link to the central office in London.
During the time Paul has spent volunteering, his friends, family and business partner have been supportive of his volunteering, Paul continues: “I’m lucky to work with another veteran in my job that’s understanding of me working with SSAFA.”
Initially, Paul was concerned about the time commitments to volunteering, but he soon realised that the organisation was appreciative of any help he could give.
Want to become a #SSAFA volunteer mentor? Our mentors help service leavers and their families make a successful transition into civilian life. Find out how you can make a difference: https://t.co/66xYhJLJ6a pic.twitter.com/C70RkY48wn
— SSAFA (@SSAFA) March 19, 2019
“In reality it’s really what you can devote to it,” explains Paul. “The important thing is to just go along and dip a toe in the water, see how it impacts you.
“A lot of our volunteers report that they get so much personal satisfaction out of doing something good for someone else, that in itself is a reward.”
After leaving the Armed Forces, Paul was financially stable and received support from his family, but he knew others weren’t as fortunate. “Having seen my friends leave the Forces and end up in trouble led me to believe that I wanted to help people not as well off as I am,” emphasises Paul.
A personal connection to veterans’ stories means volunteering has impacted Paul as well as the people he is supporting.
“The moment you see the person having a breakthrough and realise a veteran and their family are in a better place, that’s just definitely worth it.”
Volunteering with SSAFA has inspired Paul to complete a master’s degree looking at the mental health and wellbeing of veterans and their families. As he reflects on the positive impact volunteering has had on him, Paul would encourage other veterans to get involved.