A CHARITY has issued an urgent appeal for more volunteers to support veterans who are feeling lonely and isolated since leaving the forces.

Research released by SSAFA, which supports armed forces veterans, has found that more than two in five surveyed, aged 25-45, reported feelings of loneliness, isolation or having suicidal thoughts.

One in five believe they would feel less lonely if they had a stronger support group.

The charity’s Oxfordshire branch is urgently appealing for people to join its network of dedicated volunteers, in light of the findings.

Changes in employment, living arrangements, financial stability, and personal lifestyles as veterans leave the forces can make it difficult to acclimatise to a new life.

Volunteering is suggested as a way of giving something back to the community and meeting new people.

In particular, the Oxfordshire group is looking for case work managers and fundraising volunteers.

SSAFA Oxfordshire Branch Chairman, Ian Talbot, said volunteers have dealt with more than 300 cases in the last year and the problems they are encountering include debt, homelessness and loneliness, particularly amongst younger generations.

Their casework managers work with people on an individual basis to help them address issues and signpost them to other organisations who may be able to help.

He said: "Volunteering with us is quite unique because you get to work with someone the whole way through the process, from meeting somebody for the first time to seeing them improve when they get the support they need."

Mr Talbot believes the 'transitional package' offered to members of the armed forces has been improved in recent years but a minority still experience problems.

He said: "For early leavers, their lives are quite quickly very different. They may have been looking five or 10 years ahead and suddenly that has all changed and they have to alter their expectations. It can take some getting used to."

Call 01235 548 039 or email oxfordshire@SSAFA.org.uk.