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DSEI 2023 Charity Coalition

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DSEI 2023: DSEI introduces charity coalition for 2023 event bringing together SSAFA, RNRMC, ABF Charity and RAFA in a new approach.

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Press Release, London, 10 August 2023: For the first time in its history, DSEI is bringing together four military charities; SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and the Royal Air Forces Association, in a new approach that will enable the charities to profile key services which support the integrated defence and security workforce.

The broadening of the involvement of military charities for the first time in 2023 further underlines DSEI’s drive to integrate fully across the Defence and Security landscape, demonstrating that DSEI is an essential platform for bringing together these groups. The four charities will look to benefit from the numerous strategic engagement opportunities that DSEI provides to bolster their support for the Armed Forces community. All four charities will have a physical stand presence at the event, reinforcing the importance of DSEI for sharing best practice and collaboration between charities.

SSAFA, will be highlighting their mentor programme, which helps those who have recently left the forces, and their families, understand and prosper during the transition to civilian life.

The mentor programme has been a lifeline for people like Danni who served 22 years in the RAF but began facing difficulties after they came out as non-binary transgender. The aftermath that followed made life and the transition out of the military especially difficult for them.

At a time of mental turmoil they were offered help by SSAFA’s mentoring service. Supported by their wife, daughter and SSAFA mentor they are now thriving and studying for a PhD.

RNRMC (The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity), which exists to support the people serving in the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, focus primarily on a series of commissioning programmes with partners that seek to deliver specific outcomes for the benefit of a particular cohort, whether that is for those who serve, their families, working-age veterans or those veterans no longer working. In establishing those partnerships, they are particularly mindful of the need to address the underlying cause of need, rather than merely deal with the outcomes (important though that is).

Over the next 12 months or so the RNRMC will be particularly focussed on the challenges posed by neuro-diversity, and the impact this can have on those who the charity supports. RNRMC are working with a number of partners to tackle this aspect of their charitable output including a focus on the mental health of those who are leaving the service.

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is there to support soldiers, veterans and their families through life’s challenges. This includes supporting soldiers who have been wounded, injured or sick or have finished their Army service, and need help finding rewarding civilian careers.

Most soldiers transition into civilian employment smoothly, but, for some, leaving the Army is a daunting experience. Without stable employment, veterans and their families may struggle in a multitude of areas.

The charity plays an essential role in making sure delivery charities and organisations have the vital funding they need to support veterans into employment.

As well as providing grants to individuals, the charity funds a range of partner charities and organisations that boost existing skills and provide education, training and employment support to Army veterans; for example, the Forces Employment Charity, The Poppy Factory and BuildForce.

RAFA (The RAF Association) offers specialist mental wellbeing and resilience training to non-serving members of the RAF community through its ‘Finding it Tough?’ course.

Recognising that being part of the military environment can place an additional strain on everyday life, the Association evolved its ‘Finding it Tough’ programme in 2022, introducing for the first time a bespoke course tailored for those who work to support serving personnel and the wider RAF community.

The new ‘supporting community’ course is one of three mental wellbeing courses offered by the RAF Association, alongside variants for veterans and family members of those who are serving.

Each course is tailored to the specific needs and challenges of the different groups, helping to build resilience within the non-serving workforce and the wider RAF community.

DSEI Director, Grant Burgham said: “The vital work that these four military charities carry out rightfully deserves a central place at this year’s DSEI. There will be many service personnel who attend throughout the four days of the event and having the chance to see the services available to them at this global gathering is so important. The military charities will have unrivalled access to service personnel past and present alongside numerous opportunities to engage with the wider defence industry.”

On behalf of the four charity coalition, Rachel Huxford, said: “DSEI 2023 is a unique opportunity for us to connect with current and former service personnel – people who may need our services now, or in the future. We are extremely grateful to DSEI for creating the catalyst for us to work together in a new way and, ultimately, have a positive impact on the lives of more people within our Armed Forces community.”

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