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Ex-services organisations

These charities offer financial support to current and former members of the armed services, and those who make their living at sea.

SSAFA - The Armed Forces Charity

SSAFA gives help to regulars and reserves in the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the British Army and the Royal Air Force and their families, including anyone who has done National Service. They are all entitled to lifelong support from SSAFA.

There focus is on physical and emotional care. If you're a member of the Armed Forces, they can help you with:

  • addiction problems
  • relationship problems
  • debt
  • homelessness
  • post traumatic stress
  • depression
  • disabilities

Contact details

SSAFA has branches throughout the UK and internationally. The website has a search function where you can find your nearest branch by typing in your postcode.

Helpline: 0800 260 6767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm)

The website has a Live Chat function too.

The Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion helps members of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, veterans and their families. They provide support to people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Poppyscotland supports members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland.

The Royal British Legion can help with:

  • care homes for older veterans, support for carers and helping ex-serving personnel and their families to live safely at home
  • expert recovery and rehabilitation and support with mental wellbeing
  • a claim for compensation after an injury, financial support and advice on how to find a job after you've left the Armed Forces
  • making local community connections
  • expert advice on housing, pensions and an inquest after a bereavement

Contact details

The Royal British Legion has branches throughout the UK. The website has a search function where you can find your nearest branch by typing in your postcode.

Helpline: Call 0808 802 8080 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week)

The website also has an online chat function.


Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund

The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF's welfare charity that looks after all serving and former members of the RAF as well as their partners and dependent children.

The RAF Benevolent Fund gives help with:

  • finances for day to day living costs
  • unemployment, retraining and resettlement
  • housing
  • disability adaptations and aids around the home
  • mobility equipment
  • care costs
  • the needs of carers
  • wellbeing holiday breaks
  • funeral costs
  • benefits information
  • housing and care advocacy
  • emotional health and wellbeing

Contact details

Helpline: 0300 102 1919 (8am to 10pm, seven days a week)


The website also has a web chat.

Association of Royal Naval Officers (ARNO)

ARNO gives benefits and services, including financial help and lifelong support to officers and their dependents of the Royal Naval Service. They do it through their charity The Royal Navy Officers' Charity (RNOC).

The RNOC gives help through their partner charities. They can help with:

  • finances including benefits, debt management, savings and bankruptcy
  • practical, emotional and financial support to families, as well as transport and mobility aids
  • sheltered housing, retirement homes, respite and day care for people with severe physical disabilities
  • health and wellbeing including mental health support and support to dependents during times of illness
  • bereavement support

Contact details

Phone: 020 7402 5231 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4.30pm)


ABF The Soldiers' Charity

ABF The Soldiers' Charity is the national charity of the British Army. They give a lifetime of support to soldiers, veterans and their immediate families when they are in need.

They can:

  • give grants to individuals and charities
  • help young serving families to cope with a sudden bereavement or traumatic loss
  • give financial support to wounded soldiers
  • help with housing
  • give education and training for employment for soldiers and veterans of all ages
  • support older veterans and their widows or widowers when they find themselves lonely or isolated

Contact details

Phone: 0207 901 8900



Poppyscotland support people of all ages in the Armed Forces who live in Scotland. They also help the families of ex-Servicemen and women, including partners, widows, widowers and children. The Royal British Legion helps members of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Poppyscotland can:

  • support and funding specific to your needs
  • give guidance and support to help veterans cope with challenging issues
  • help with employment
  • give support if you have mobility issues
  • help with housing
  • support with mental health

Contact details

Phone: 0131 557 2782

Helpline: 0131 550 1557


Seafarers UK

Seafarers UK gives grants to maritime charities and charitable maritime projects. Although they don't fund individuals, they help serving and ex-serving seafarers and their families who need support through other organisations that they fund.

Through other organisations, they can help:

  • older seafarers, over the usual age of retirement, and their dependants
  • working age seafarers working at sea in the maritime industries, former seafarers under retirement age and Merchant Navy cadets and trainees
  • families and dependants of current or former seafarers who are still of working age
  • young people in maritime youth groups focusing on those considering or pursuing a career at sea

Contact details


Phone: 020 7932 0000

Other resources

For a more complete list of charities offering grants, ask for this book in your local library:

The Guide to Major Trusts 2019/20

Ian Pembridge and Scott Mason

16th edition

Published by the Directory of Social Change, September 2018

ISBN 978 1 78482 053 4

Last reviewed: 
09 Mar 2021
Next review due: 
11 Mar 2024