Paul's Story: How SSAFA got him on the right path Type National tri-service military charity Location Nationwide Grant amount £50,000 Date 2016 Website www.ssafa.org.uk Paul, aged 31 was a Royal Marine Commando specialising as an advanced driver and vehicle mechanic. During his career he undertook a number of postings, including a tour of Afghanistan in 2007-2008. Shortly after returning from his tour Paul’s sustained a terrible back injury which left him in constant pain. “My back began to hurt so much that I couldn’t continue to carry out my normal role as a Marine. I was given a lot of physiotherapy treatment and medication to cope with the pain, but nothing helped. Eventually, I had to use crutches to help me walk.” Paul’s final posting was with the Hasler Company at HMS Drake in Plymouth, a unit dedicated to meeting the specific and complex needs of seriously injured and ill Royal Marines and other military personnel who require specially tailored programmes and additional bespoke support before leaving the forces. “I knew I wasn’t going to fully recover and that I was going to be discharged, so I started to think about what I was going to do when I finally left the Marines. I decided on law. It seemed like a career with plenty of challenges and a career in which I could progress by way of gaining knowledge and experience. There also appeared to be a structure of seniority where I could work my way up - a little like the Marines.” Paul was determined to undertake a law degree at the University of Lincoln, but realised that he would not be able to afford the cost of tuition. That was when Paul met Mike, a caseworker from SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. SSAFA’s case work service provides local welfare advice and support to the Armed Forces community through an extensive network of 7,060 volunteers. Trained SSAFA caseworkers visit individuals from the Armed Forces family who are facing difficult situations, assess their needs and help them access the appropriate assistance. Last year 36,208 cases and visits to beneficiaries were carried out by trained SSAFA volunteers – the equivalent of four every hour. Mike assessed Paul’s situation and was able to secure significant funding from a number of sources to help fund the costs of Paul’s training. Paul finished his degree in 2015 and is now a trainee legal executive in personal injury law firm in Lincoln. He is looking to complete his Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) qualification and hopes to move into more specialist work for injured servicemen and women.