John Conner, Director of Business Performance and Delivery, shares his story of purpose and empathy through the work he does as a charity caseworker for the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA). His work supporting veterans and their families, and the values he brings to the caseworker role are values he brings to Capita, every day. And with a passion for improving people’s lives, he’s hoping to inspire colleagues to get involved with volunteering.

Capita has allowed me to continue making a difference in the lives of veterans and their families, to make tangible and immediate impact on people’s lives through compassion and kindness.

A cause for good

In 2021, I decided to focus on a single charitable cause where I could make a real improvement in people’s lives, and for me, it made sense to join a services charity. The SSAFA has been helping veterans for over 135 years. I am one of the 4,000 caseworkers around the country helping over 60,000 veterans and families each year. We work with organisations like the Army, the Royal Navy, The British Legion, and a host of specialist charities too. Being a caseworker is about getting to know a service person or their family, and finding ways we can make their lives better.

Stories that stay with you, forever

You never forget a case. I’ve helped a displaced Ukrainian veteran, who fled to the UK with his daughter, find accommodation and a new full-time job. I once met a gunner who served in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He was diagnosed with terminal spinal cancer and had a wife who was struggling with her mental health. We transformed his flat so that he could cope with his deteriorating mobility and paid off all debts to reduce the stress on his wife. These are just some of the people I’ve met, but every case is meaningful because I’m able to provide immediate help that is tangible.

Making change, however small

To me, volunteering is all about the opportunity to create a real improvement in people’s lives within weeks. It definitely started as something outside of my comfort zone, but now, it’s part of who I am. I visit clients in the evening or at weekends and take advantage of Capita’s volunteering allowance. It’s completely manageable alongside my job and I get so much satisfaction from giving back.

Getting involved

If you want to make a difference, there’s so much out there for you to get involved in. You can be an IT volunteer, a mentor, a caseworker, or a visitor who simply takes time to talk to people who need a chat. You can decide how much time to spend volunteering and do it in a way that fits into your life and routine. When you listen to the thanks and how your help has allowed a person in need to move forward with their life or live their life comfortably and safely…it’s a feeling like no other. And it’s worth it, every time.


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