Veteran and volunteer case worker: “People are amazed about what support is available for them”

Veteran Ben Poku has been a volunteer case worker at The Legion for over 10 years, providing essential support for ex-Servicemen and women, and their families.

Originally from Ghana, Ben Poku served in the Army for 17 years, first as a Gunner in The Royal Horse Artillery before training to be a nurse with Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps.

After attending Armed Forces Day in 2007 he decided to volunteer for The Legion.

“I got involved back in 2007 during Armed Forces Day in Birmingham,” explains Ben

“I saw one of the Legion's advisors and wasn't sure what he did, so I spoke to him and he explained that he worked as a case officer and talked me through what they did.

“I wasn't aware of The Royal British Legion even though I had been in the military, so when he spoke to me about it I decided I wanted to offer my support to other people who have served, and their families as well.”

Based in London, Ben works with his local Pop In Centre and visits members of the Armed Forces community to ensure they get all the support they need.

From benefits and money advice to help with housing and mental health, case workers provide expert advice to individuals and families, and make sure they get the help that they need.

“We take a holistic approach,” says Ben.

“Most people are not aware of the different type of support that The Legion offers, but as you speak to people you can pick up things and advise them about what The Legion can do.

“People are amazed about what support is regularly available for them.

Ben is currently a reservist with 256 (City of London) Field Hospital

“It's about knowing what that individual wants and working with them to achieve their aims and objectives. It helps take their mind off events that are likely to put them in a stressful situation.”

Although Ben left the Army in 2017, he still serves as a reservist, and feels his time in the Armed Forces gives him a unique perspective.

“Because I've been there I can relate to those individuals, especially in relation to being in Iraq or Afghanistan,” he says.

“Being there to support someone I can relate to is very rewarding. It's challenging but I'm happy that I'm there to support them.

“I would advocate for other people to join The Legion and support the Armed Forces because there is a whole lot of issues that Armed Forces families and soldiers face.”

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