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.

Email: info@britishlegion.org.uk

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:

  • day to day living and one off costs
  • further education and employment costs
  • funerals and bereavement costs
  • housing and repair costs
  • benefits advice
  • legal advice
  • living independently
  • advocacy service
  • care breaks
  • support for carers
  • disabled friendly holidays
  • activities for children and young people
  • workshops for partners of RAF personnel
  • online support for families
  • family counselling
  • breaks for serving families
  • relationship counselling

Contact details

Helpline: 0300 102 1919 (9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4pm on Fridays)

Email: mail@rafbf.org.uk

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:

  • support grants
  • assistance to individuals with disabilities
  • home repairs
  • assistance with covering the costs of respite breaks, care in the home and shortfalls in care home costs
  • school costs for dependant children, training costs for adults and essential equipment for all
  • grants to assist with end of life costs and can contribute to funeral costs
  • assistance and advice to reduce debts
  • grants to help with removal expenses and also initial rent deposits and associated costs
  • ongoing financial support, to help cover essential utility and household bills for a number of people of State Pension age

Contact details

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

Email: rnoc@arno.org.uk

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 give grants to charities as well as grants to individuals across 6 areas:

  • independent living
  • elderly care
  • employment
  • mental fitness
  • army families
  • housing

Contact details

Phone: 0207 901 8900

Email: info@soldierscharity.org


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

Email: GetHelp@poppyscotland.org.uk

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.

The grants of Seafarers UK aim to affect the lives of seafarers in 5 areas:

  • better financial resilience
  • better working lives at sea
  • improved health and well-being
  • safer working lives
  • increased social justice

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: 
08 Feb 2022
Next review due: 
11 Mar 2023

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