Undoubtedly you will have been following in the news the troubling events unfolding in Afghanistan. We know how distressing and difficult many in our community will find these developments, both veterans and those still serving, their families, and of course the families who lost loved ones as a result of the conflict.

It is vital we let our community know we are here for them during this time and stand ready to support them. We have seen an increase in calls to the contact centre, and our expert welfare teams are already helping those who have reached out, working collaboratively with referral partners and national and local government to provide the very best support.

Whether our community are facing emotional distress or mental health issues, need practical support or a listening ear, we are here for them, and we ask you to direct anyone in need of support to the contact centre on 0808 802 8080. That includes Afghans who worked alongside the British Armed Forces and hold a HM Armed Forces campaign medal, our full range of support is available to them.

We have done significant work in the last week, looking at the potential needs that will arise for all those eligible for our help and planning the best way to offer that support. The most effective way you can contribute to helping our community at this point is by directing all welfare enquiries to the contact centre where staff are waiting, briefed, and qualified.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely, working with our partners as necessary, and we are encouraging our community to regularly check in with one another and call us if they are struggling. This important message will be repeated on our channels, and we ask you to share it also.

There are those within our own membership and staff who served in Afghanistan and will be affected by the ongoing events. Please reach out for support if you need it, and we encourage everyone to show understanding and compassion at what is a difficult time for many.

Our contact centre colleagues are ready and waiting, therefore once again, please advise anyone needing support to get in touch with them directly. Thank you.

 Una Cleminson, National Chairman and Charles Byrne, Director General