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Issue 18 December 2010

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

Pathway initiative continues roll out Veterans given a sporting chance Veterans get help to kickstart a healthy New Year


Service Personnel & Veterans Agency

HELP AND SUPPORT FROM SERVICE PERSONNEL AND VETERANS AGENCY Joint Personnel Administration Centre (JPAC)

Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC)

The first point of contact for serving personnel

Providing casualty and compassionate reporting services - 24 hours a day

Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)

Medals Have you claimed your medals? Call us today

For injury, ill health and death linked to Service on or after 6 April 05

War Pensions For injury, ill health and death linked to Service prior to 6 April 05

Armed Forces Pension Schemes Have you claimed your pension entitlement? (Service from 1975 onwards)

How to contact us Service Personnel

Ex-Service Personnel

JPAC opening hours Monday – Friday 07.00 -19.00

Veterans UK Helpline 0800 169 2277 You may be offered a call back if lines are busy. Lines are open: Monday – Thursday 8.15 -17.15 Friday :8.15 -16.30

JPAC Enquiry Centre 0141 224 3600 Mil 94560 3600

Write to us Write to us JPAC Enquiry Centre, Mail Point 403, Kentigern House Veterans Advice Team, 65 Brown Street, Glasgow G2 8EX Service Personnel and Veterans Agency Tomlinson House, Norcross FY5 3WP Online accessibility Email: veterans.help@spva.gsi.gov.uk Internet: JPAC@spva.mod.uk Fax: 01253 332014 Intranet: JPACEnquiryCentre Online JCCC www.veterans-uk.info Contact the JCCC 24 hours a day, seven days a week 01452 519951


Contents

® December 2010 Issue 18

IN THIS ISSUE

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The Royal Chelsea Hospital Update The Royal Chelsea Hospital enters its third phase of modernisation

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Meet the new ‘Recruits’ Four legged friends providing independence for disabled veterans

10 Homes for Heroes Housing opportunities for veterans

18 Mutual Support Multiple Sclerosis - crucial support

20 Help Moving Forward Help at hand for veterans suffering from chronic pain

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24 Life after Service Resettlement Advice for Veterans

Regulars 4-5 News in Brief 25 SPVA News 26 Noticeboard Front page image: Horseback, see pages 12-13

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For advertising opportunities please contact: SPVA-VeteransWorld@mod.uk

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Veterans WORLD is distributed to those work in an advisory role. Managing Editor: Laurie Manton Editor: Clare Ellis Deputy Editor: Chrissie Butterworth Email: SPVA-VeteransWorld@mod.uk For distribution enquiries Email: SPVA-VeteransWorld@mod.uk or call: 01253 330451 Want to make an editorial contribution? Contributions are most welcome. To raise awareness of an initiative, scheme or organisation that offers help, advice or support to veterans contact the editorial team by emailing: SPVA-VeteransWorld@mod.uk Editorial content enquiries contact: Managing Editor: Laurie Manton by Email: SPVA-VeteransWorld@mod.uk or by calling: 01253 333882

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News in brief

Changes to campaign medals criteria Hundreds more British Servicemen and women will receive operational campaign medals under new plans announced by the MOD in August 2010.

Crown Copyright MOD 2009

days are now also eligible. These changes will be backdated to the start of both operations - 11 September 2001 for Afghanistan and 20 January 2003 for Iraq. Examples of Service personnel who could now be eligible include members of the aeromedical evacuation teams who accompany injured patients back to the UK. Under the new plans, personnel who deploy for short periods of time will be allowed to build up accrued days to achieve an aggregate qualifying period of 45 days' service. The Operational Service Medals for Iraq and Afghanistan

AT PRESENT, members of the Armed Forces who serve for 30 continuous days qualify for Iraq and Afghanistan campaign medals. Following a review, those who have served for an aggregate period of 45

New healthcare guide launched New guidance produced to help GPs support veterans’ healthcare needs more effectively THE Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), The Royal British Legion and Combat Stress have launched guidance to support GPs in identifying and meeting the healthcare needs of veterans more effectively including accessing the priority treatment to which all veterans are entitled for Service-related conditions.

Contacts

Ex-Service personnel, who believe they may be eligible, should contact the MOD Medal Office by: calling the JPAC Enquiry Centre 0800 085 3600 or email Medals@SPVA.mod.uk

Factsheet for older veterans A new factsheet: ‘Older Veterans Living in Scotland’ was recently launched by Age Scotland in partnership with Poppyscotland.

The factsheet provides information on finance, health, housing, remembrance and employment, as well as Service-related information on veterans’ rights, medals and Service records. It also includes a directory of ex-Service charities offering support to veterans in Scotland. THE factsheet is an all-in-one resource for veterans and support agencies working with the Armed Forces community in Scotland. Poppyscotland Chief Executive Ian McGregor said: “Veterans advice needs can be multiple and complex and it is gratifying to see that Age Scotland has recognised the issues that members of

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this group can face. We hope this factsheet will go a long way to addressing the difficulties experienced by some of our older veterans”.

Contacts To obtain copies of the factsheet, visit www.agescotland.org.uk or telephone 0845 8330200

THE jointly produced guidance for GPs looks at how best to care for veterans’ physical and mental health after they have left the Armed Forces and rejoined civilian life. It provides useful advice on medical records and accessing priority treatment, along with dedicated sections including mental health needs, health behaviours, the provision of prostheses and hospital waiting lists. The Royal College of General Practitioners sent out electronic copies of the guidance to all GP surgeries, covering their 42,000 members.

Contacts

The guidance is available to download on the following websites: www.rcgp.org.uk www.britishlegion.org.uk or www.combatstress.org.uk


The path to support widens Armed Forces Community Welfare Pathway rollout Contacts The Armed Forces Community Champions for the existing pilot schemes Members of the Armed Forces Community can contact their champions for advice, support and entitlements information.

Some of the key stakeholders at the Hampshire County Council Welfare Pathway Conference in September 2010, along with members of the Army Air Corps Band.

In November 2009, Kent County Council became the first local authority to sign up to the Armed Forces Community Welfare Pathway. Hampshire County Council, Wigan Council and Fife Council have also joined the scheme, while both North Yorkshire County Council and Vale of Glamorgan Council have begun establishing a Welfare Pathway initiative. from local military bases, representatives THE scheme is designed to improve access from the major Service charities, and other to support from statutory providers and groups who may be able to provide value, the voluntary and community sector for such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, the Service personnel, veterans and their families and widows/ers of those who died Veterans’ Welfare Service or local whilst serving. It does not increase support emergency services. The aim is to identify priority issues and improve collaboration, provision, but is designed to improve coin order to ensure that the interests of the ordination between local authorities, other Armed Forces community are taken into Government services such as those provided by the National Health Service account in both the planning and delivery and Job Centre Plus, and the voluntary and of support. * community sector. The aim is to improve awareness of the issues of concern to the Advice on support for veterans is available through a wide range of helplines. For Armed Forces community among the various providers of support and help them those who are unsure which number to co-ordinate their activities to ensure that call, the Welfare Pathway offers a National the Community is able to access the Point of Contact - 08000 223366 - a signposting service, directing callers to the support to which it is entitled, and enable most appropriate helpline. co-operation between statutory providers and charities. The Welfare Pathway scheme is led by the Each council is encouraged to establish an Armed Forces Community Champion in ‘Armed Forces Community Group’, each authority. They ensure that the local bringing together representatives from scheme operates, chair the Armed Forces local authorities, key players such as the Community Group and provide a focus for Armed Forces Champions from the local recourse if problems arise in the provision NHS authority and Department for Work of statutory support to the Armed Forces and Pensions, community relations staff community.

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Kent – Cllr Leyland Riding. Call 08458 247 247, or visit one of the Council’s Gateway centres.

Hampshire – Mr Ian Parker, of the Chief Executive’s Department. Call 0845 603 5630.

Wigan – Cllr Keith Cunliffe. visit the council offices or call 01942 244991

Fife – Mr Steve Grimmond, Executive Director of Local Communities and Housing. Call 08451 550033 or visit Fife Council offices.

North Yorkshire: Mr Neil Irving. Call 0845 872 7374.

Vale of Glamorgan: Cllr Janice Charles. Call 01446 700111

For advice on Services and entitlements, callers should advise that they are members of the Armed Forces Community; where this has a bearing on the delivery of service, it will be taken into account. Future plans The current Welfare Pathway pilot groups, including North Yorkshire and Vale of Glamorgan, will trial the scheme until October 2011. It is hoped that lessons from the trial period will be taken forward nationally after that time. Groups in the Pilot areas who feel they can contribute to the aims of the Welfare Pathway are encouraged to contact the Armed Forces Champions in their area. Editors Note: * See page 19 for an example of how the Welfare Pathway is working in Wigan.

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Modernisation for the men and women in Scarlet

The Royal Hospital Chelsea has been caring for the nation’s Army veterans since 1682 and new facilities will ensure that The Royal Hospital is able to continue fulfilling that role for years to come.

The distinctive Chelsea Pensioners Today the Royal Hospital is home to some 300 Pensioners, male and female, providing them with a stimulating living environment. Veterans are eligible to become Chelsea Pensioners if they have served as soldiers in the British Army, are over 65 years old, and have no dependants. THE modernisation of the Royal Hospital Chelsea continues, and has now entered its third phase. The Royal Hospital Chelsea launched the Chelsea Pensioners’ Appeal in 2004 to fund the biggest development campaign in its history. The first phase was The Margaret Thatcher Infirmary, which opened in March 2009. The infirmary’s facilities include state of the art wards for nursing and palliative care; as well as a gym and the Royal Hospital’s own surgery.

The current phase of the upgrade addresses the famous Long Wards on which the majority of the pensioners live. At present each of the Long Wards has 36 9ft by 9ft wooden ‘berths’, the design and shape of which has remained almost the same for 300 years. At the end of this phase the berths will be updated to en-suite study bedrooms, while maintaining the iconic character of

the Long Wards, which were designed by Sir Christopher Wren. A small start has been made to the Long Ward conversion and it has delivered 34 en-suite study bedrooms, which were opened in June this year by The Duke of Gloucester KG. This coincided with Founder’s Day, the annual day of celebration in honour of King Charles II who established the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The final stage to deliver 220 rooms is still seeking finance and will require some £30million to complete.

Contacts

For more information call 0207 881 5200 or visit www.chelsea-pensioners.co.uk

6 Allen’s assistance dog Endal Junior, pperforms a number of tasks to support him from posting envelopes to picking items from shop shelves


Breaking down barriers

Health and Wellbeing is a Royal British Legion service introduced to break down barriers of isolation and social exclusion and to help veterans re-engage with their local communities. Activities, which are free and available to all who qualify for Legion assistance*, are based around the following five key areas: Information and Advice, Diet and Nutrition, Exercise and Activity, Adult Learning, and Social Interaction. Information and advice from trained professionals is offered on money matters, welfare issues, health and social care, leisure and social activities. Clients are referred on to other Legion services such as benefit and money advice if needed. The programme encourages a healthy diet and good nutrition by running cooking classes using healthy fresh ingredients, and Lunch clubs are very popular, where clients can enjoy healthy eating together in a comfortable environment. Sessions on nutrition, calorific content and weight control are also popular. Exercise classes promoting healthy activity levels include Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates and dance. Outdoor activities include walking groups, horticulture and photography. Sessions are fun, friendly, inclusive and are tailored to clients’ abilities. There is a strong emphasis on adult learning, with Health and Wellbeing projects offering access to academic or vocational learning including basic IT training; e-mail, digital photography, search engine and internet use.

David Lockwood on his doorstep welcoming Harry Wakefield delivering his Poppy Box

Social Interaction is a huge part of the Health and Wellbeing initiative. The programme encourages individuals to meet like-minded people with similar interests, issues and life experiences. It

allows them to become more involved in their local communities and gives them the confidence to venture outside their homes once more. Clients can become more socially involved through group activities such as film and theatre trips, outdoor pursuits, tea dances and group outings There are currently 17 Health and Wellbeing Projects spread around England and Wales, all are partnerships with specialist providers who are experienced in delivering these types of services. Venues vary from Legion Clubs and Break Centres to partnership venues which have suitable facilities. The service is aimed at all age groups and is free to Legion eligible clients

The Legion Health and Wellbeing project also operates “Poppy Boxes”, a weekly food delivery scheme where food is packed into boxes by Legion Branch members and is delivered to needy beneficiaries. This service is enormously valued as it is aimed at unemployed and low income families and clients who benefit from it are often isolated, or recently returned from a hospital stay and are unable to get out and about. One beneficiary sums it up when he says “the Poppy Box was a godsend, I don’t know how I would have managed without it”

The RBL’s key aim is to improve the quality of life for veterans, enabling them to enjoy healthy, independent and fulfilling lives. The service works by drawing together groups of individuals to central locations with organised health and wellbeing activities designed to aid veterans with their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

For further information, email The Health and Wellbeing Manager Doug Davie at ddavie@britishlegion.org.uk or The Health and Wellbeing Assistant Katie Grant at kgrant@britishlegion.org.uk

HEALTH and Wellbeing teams support veterans providing them with information on the range of assistance and services available to them from all agencies thus helping them to remain active members of society.

*Editors Note: If you served in the Forces for at least 7 days or are the dependant of someone who has served, The Royal British Legion's extensive range of services is available to help you.

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Contacts

The programme includes outdoor activities such as walking groups and horticulture

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Combat Stress roll-out new outreach service Taking treatment direct to veterans in the community

Since 2005, Combat Stress has seen a 72 per cent increase in referrals. With no sign of demand abating, it became clear that they needed to re-think their strategy to best meet the needs of the rising numbers of veterans seeking the charity’s help for mental health difficulties. COMBAT STRESS have long provided clinical treatment at their three short-stay residential centres – in Shropshire, Ayrshire and Surrey. But these have limited capacity at any one time.

Psychiatric nurse John Marham explains the difference that Combat Stress’s enhanced Community Outreach capability can make: “We can support veterans after they have had treatment as an in-patient and provide support for those waiting for admission. It makes sense to be able to deliver the kind of evidence-based therapies we offer in our treatment centres to Veterans out in the community too.” His colleague Alex McCall added:

For some years, Combat Stress has also operated a nationwide network of very hard working Regional Welfare Officers (RWOs): they knew that, by adding a Community Psychiatric Nurse and a Mental Health Practitioner to the area covered by an RWO, they could deliver to each region the clinical capability that was missing. In effect, they would be taking treatment out to clients in the community too. The first of these enhanced Community Outreach teams have been rolled-out in six areas of the UK, and the Southern region Anglia team has been operational since August of this year. It consists of four key players: Community Psychiatric Nurse John Marham, Mental Health Practitioner Alex McCall, and Regional Welfare Officer Stephen Pettitt who are all on the road; they are supported by desk officer Janet Closier, based at Combat Stress head office in Leatherhead, Surrey. Stephen and John are ex-Services themselves - Stephen was an RAF Engineering Officer; and John served for 23 years in the Scots Guards. John and Alex both previously worked in a specialist mental health unit providing care and support for serving personnel in Peterborough. Their combined skills and individual experiences have made them real assets to Combat Stress – and, by all accounts, they have hit the ground running.

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“Joining Combat Stress has been a revelation. For the first time I feel that I can actually make a difference. My role as a Mental Health Practitioner within the Anglia Community Outreach team involves not only taking talking therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy into patients’ homes but also allows me to think outside the box and get involved in real holistic patient care such as setting up local groups in the community to bring Veterans together.” Increasing numbers of ex-Servicemen and women are already seeing the benefits of the charity’s new Community Outreach operation – not just in the Anglia region, but also in Scotland East, Scotland West, Wales and The Midlands, England North East and England North West. Combat Stress hopes to expand this service across the UK with monies raised through The Enemy Within appeal – the charity’s three-year, £30 million fundraising campaign launched by HRH The Prince of Wales last March. Veterans are still waiting, on average, more than 14 years before seeking the help of Combat Stress: by this stage their mental health condition has often deteriorated badly; self-medication through alcohol is not uncommon and, for many, social isolation is the norm.

Contacts To find out how Combat Stress can reach out to veterans in your community visit www.combatstress.org.uk.


Hounds for heroes Canine ‘recruits’ to help disabled veterans live independently When Allen Parton founded the Hounds for Heroes charity, he made its mission clear: to provide bespoke assistance dogs for members of the Armed Forces*, serving or ex-Service, who are disabled. THE charity is now preparing to purchase its first puppies, aiming to commence training of the first five ‘recruits’ in May 2011. Allen Parton speaks with conviction, brought back from the brink by his own assistance dog, Endal. His experience as an injured Naval officer brings a valuable insight to the charity’s development. “Someone who has sustained their injury during Service will almost always have a built-in need to fight what has happened to them. They are not in denial; they are focused on survival and the need to have a normal life, “An assistance dog will not be their first idea of a solution to their problem. But it made a real difference to my family. Endal gave me back my independence, relieving the pressure on my family.

“It’s not about disability but all about promoting – ability.”

“It’s not about disability but all about promoting - ability. And it’s the dogs that

make the push for normality possible. For the right person, a dog can help that process, every four-legged step of the way.” Allen is now building a working relationship with the welfare sections of the Armed Forces and ex-Service organisations, where the referrals will be sourced by professionals already working with the rehabilitation of Servicemen and women. The Royal British Legion, Royal Navy Benevolent Trust and Royal Air Force Association have been supporting the charity from the beginning and will continue to be a major link between the Service personnel and the dogs. The dogs will not be trained to perform a multitude of ‘tricks’ but taught a basic set of tasks that can be performed well and in synergy with their human companion’s lifestyle. Allen explained, “If a client needs their dog to open and close a washing machine, then it will be taught to do so. And anyone who wants their dog to accompany them to the pub on a Friday night and put their wallet on the bar, that can be taught too! “I know from personal experience that an assistance dog can be the perfect companion, especially if they are individually trained for an individual’s needs.”

The Hounds for Heroes Team

“They can return a person’s independence and enable them to make choices again. A dog can, without doubt, open the door to a better quality of life.”

Contacts If you would like to know more about how Hounds for Heroes can support a veteran in your care, then call 07788 934455, email info@houndsforheroes.com or visit: www.houndsforheroes.com Editors Note * the assistance dogs will also be provided to injured members of the Police and Fire Services.

Allen’s assistance dog Endal Junior, performs a number of tasks to support him from posting envelopes to picking items from shop shelves

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New Homes For Veterans Newbuild, low rental, accessible houses available for veterans now. Robert Watson, SVGCA Chairman said, “With these new flats or bungalows available, and two more bungalows under construction, we are now actively seeking tenants with long-term disabilities, particularly from those wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, for these low-rental, modern, wheelchair-friendly properties as well as for our other existing vacant properties. “If you are a disabled ex-Serviceman or woman or you know of, or are currently trying to place, a disabled veteran into housing, please contact us direct or advise the individual to apply through the Veterans Scotland Central Housing Register which covers all Veterans Housing in Scotland.”

The finishing touches are applied to the houses in Scone

The Scottish Veterans’ Garden City Association (SVGCA) was founded in 1915 to provide homes for disabled veterans from the First World War. It is now the UK’s largest charity providing and maintaining low rental housing, on lifetime tenancies, for disabled veterans. THE Association currently owns 612 houses grouped at 74 locations across Scotland from the Border north to the Great Glen. Although all properties are located in Scotland, existing tenants come from across the UK. In 2007, the Association undertook a major study to identify how it could reduce the waiting time to offer houses to eligible and, in particular, high priority applicants. The Association’s waiting list of 417 compared to their turnover of lifetime tenancies which had averaged only 31 per year over the previous six years needed to change. As a result of the study, and with the growing demand from younger Servicemen and women leaving the Services often through serious injury in more recent conflicts, the Association launched its ‘Houses for Heroes’ Appeal. The target was to raise £6m to build up to

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60 new, two-bedroom, accessible houses at various sites across Scotland in nine phases over the next five years. By September 2010, the Association was half-way to the fundraising target. This great start has meant that 20 houses, at Motherwell, in Scone, near Perth, Penicuik, south of Edinburgh and at Airdrie have been completed and are ready for occupation. Work has now commenced on building two further bungalows at Airdrie.

A view of one of the bungalows at Penicuik

“we are now actively seeking tenants with longterm disabilities” Contacts To contact the Veterans Scotland Central Housing Register visit www.veteransscotland.org.uk or call 0131 550 1595.

Editors Note: The homes are also available to disabled Merchant Navy, Police and Fire Brigade personnel.


Dial up success for phone friendship groups An innovative project to tackle the problem of social isolation among retired seafarers has enjoyed outstanding success since its launch in June 2009. Seafarers Link uses the technology of telephone conferencing to link up retired members of the Maritime Community*, giving them the opportunity to exchange stories, share experiences and make new friends. FOLLOWING a lifetime at sea, many former seafarers say it’s the close onboard friendships that they miss most when they retire. This in turn can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation as they struggle to adjust to life back on dry land. To try to combat this growing problem among retired seamen, the first Seafarers Link telephone friendship group was launched in Hull recently. Seafarers Link is free to those wishing to participate and allows up to eight people to link up on the telephone every two

“Seafarers Link has revitalised the former seamen in the group.” weeks for up to an hour. The Maritime Charities Funding Group funds the project and the UK’s only telephone charity, Community Network, provides the telephone conferencing facilities. To ensure the calls are varied, interesting and enjoyable, Community Network also provides free training in how to conduct telephone social groups to one member from each group.

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Building on the success of the Hull group, a second group has been established in the city for women seafarers and, subsequently, further groups have been set up in Cardiff and on Merseyside. It is hoped that more groups will be formed in the coming months so new members are very welcome. Earlier this year, the project received official recognition when Seafarers Link won the BT sponsored THA (The Helpline Association) 2010 Award for the Most Innovative Use of Technology in Delivering a Helpline Service. But the most powerful endorsement of the project comes from one of its members. Dave O’Connor spent 50 years at sea as a deep-sea arctic fisherman and captain in the merchant service. Now

retired, he runs the Hull group and is in no doubt of the benefits it brings. “Seafarers Link has revitalised the former seamen in the group. We swap stories about the ships on which we served and the adventures we had,” he said. “We even meet up occasionally.”

Contacts For more information about Seafarers Link or how telephone befriending groups can offer help and friendship to veterans, please call Community Network on 0845 619 9992. Editors Note: *This includes veterans of both the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy.

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Fighting Back from Injury “For me personally, HorseBack UK has given me a purpose once again to serve the people of this country, which I have always been proud to do�

by Jock Hutchison and LCpl Jay Hare 45 Commando Royal Marines

Jock Hutchinson (front) and RM Jay Hare out on the trail

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Recent tours of Iraq and Afghanistan have seen casualty numbers for the British Military rise. The primary medical care provided for these men and women is world class, ensuring that many are able to return to the UK and survive injuries that would have been fatal a mere ten years ago. The recovery pathways for most are long, gruelling and painful, requiring reserves of courage and determination to adapt to the new bodies they find themselves left with. TWO years ago, after moving to a farm on Royal Deeside, I became aware of the injuries suffered. The tales I heard from friends who were serving convinced Emma, my wife, and me that we needed to do something to help. We had always intended to breed horses on our new farm and immediately could see the benefit of getting recovering troops involved with the horses. The challenge of riding and the freedom and mobility it provides, combined with the therapeutic value in recovering self-esteem and soothing shattered nerves, that is a feature of connecting with the horses, was the starting point for Horseback UK Jock, an ex-Royal Marine has created the model, developed with the Royal Marines thanks to the close proximity of 45 Cdo in Arbroath. Several courses have been held with good results and we are now ready to open our doors to all Serving military personnel and veterans, with the hope that the reception is as good as that from the Royal Marines. Over the past two years, we have formed a team which aims: First, to


occupational therapist. . Within the week are appointments with the prosthetic department preparing or tweaking limbs to individual needs. empower wounded personnel themselves to have a direct input into the recovery pathways of comrades returning home. “Help our Heroes Help Themselves” is our motto. This is a charity ‘for the boys, to be run by the boys’. We already have several injured servicemen who will be leaving the military who, funding allowing, will become part of the team here. Their experiences both before and after injury are invaluable. Although now he only has one leg, our mountain leader can get on his horse and lead others to areas where he thought he would not return. He can inspire others to do likewise. Second, to prepare them for a civilian life beyond the military by exposing them to as many rural occupations as possible (most of us don’t want desk jobs) and by engaging with Colleges and Universities (Robert Gordon University and the Scottish Agricultural College) to ensure that they can gain qualifications during their recovery pathway. The third aim is integration into a vibrant community where interaction with civilians can take place without the need to be ‘wheeled out’. The commandos were originally formed by gamekeepers and ghillies from Scotland and there is great synergy to this day between the two ways of life. Finally, inclusivity - by which we mean no matter what the injury or with which branch of the Armed Forces a man or woman served, there is a place for them here. We have veterans working with us, some physically injured, others suffering from mental health problems as a result of their time serving the country. By bringing both the veterans and serving personnel together, we ensure both parties learn from each other in a familiar environment with like minded people. All feel entirely at home with the serving troops recovering here. As an organisation, we have achieved a great deal over the last two years, but still have much work to do. We hope that with recent funding from Help for Heroes and by co-ordinating with BattleBack and other organisations involved in the recovery programmes of our service people we can have a major input into ensuring that men and women that gave so much are able to move forward with the hope and dignity they deserve.

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What follows is a typical story (Marines call them “dits”) of just one of those at the heart of Horseback and who was wounded in Afghanistan. People such as him do not want sympathy or pity but do need time, space and a supportive, familiar environment to adjust to a new body, come to terms with the anxieties and psychological harm that active service can induce, and begin to equip them for the demands of our civilian world. THE DIT Lance Corporal Jay Hare is the ideal person to explain the benefits of this unique charity . . . I was a deployed with 45 Commando Royal Marines on Op Herrick 9 to FOB (Forward Operating Base) Robinson, Sangin Valley, Afghanistan. In November 2008, I stepped on a randomly placed IED (Improvised Explosive Device). I remember little of what followed but, remember waking in the Intensive Care Unit at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham two weeks, later. Surgeon Commander Lambert RN and the team at Camp Bastion had done a fantastic job, but my heart still sank as the doctor informed me of my injuries. I lost my left leg below the knee, three digits on my right hand, my left eye, and sustained severe facial disfigurement as well as nearly losing my arm to a piece of shrapnel that had torn an artery during the blast. I was moved from the ICU to S4 ward with the rest of my injured comrades. There I was given Unit towels, wash kit, track suit, shorts, Unit T-shirt and crucially a Commando Green Beret. All courtesy of 45 Commando’s welfare package. The Unit welfare team was extremely supportive not only to ourselves but to all our families. After five weeks at Selly Oak, I was transferred to Headley Court Military Rehabilitation Centre. Headley Court can be a shock to the system compared to hospital life. Routines are based on a military programme and mornings start with an early parade, followed by physical exercise in the well-equipped Trafford gym watched over by extremely capable remedial instructors. Then on to specifics with the physio or sessions with the

After two three- week stints at Headley Court, I was discharged back to 45 Commando to carry on my rehabilitation and return to work within the Unit. After arriving at Headley in a wheel chair I left able to walk unaided and the foundations for starting to run. A testament to the work Headley does for all its patients. Thanks to the dedication, professionalism, advice and backing of the many agencies, family and friends, we began to integrate back into full Unit life. It was at this point I was made aware of HorseBack UK. Myself and a few colleagues went and visited Jock and Emma. This is where we immediately saw and felt the benefits of being in such tranquil surroundings, conducting energetic, rewarding, challenging and worthwhile activities. HorseBack UK has already given many of us a renewed spark and enthusiasm for life. I myself was then ‘drafted’ by the Royal Marines to join the team at the farm to help build and run courses for others that have to travel the recovery pathway. Injured servicemen and women are able to attend courses that give them an insight into horsemanship as well as rural activities and careers within the local area, should they wish to pursue them during or after their service term. Many injured service personnel will look to leave the service, and so such insight is crucial to the transition to civilian life. Being able to be a part of such a project is totally and unequivocally rewarding. To help fellow comrades and brothers in arms is based in every Services’ ethos, but to help others within the community is sheer fulfilment in itself. For me personally, HorseBack UK has given me a purpose once again to serve the people of this country, which I have always been proud to do! The reaction from servicemen, injured servicemen, former servicemen and the local community is outstanding. With collaboration and co-ordination with other charities, HBUK will trail blaze the way for injured and needy groups to help each other in such troubling times.

Contacts For further information look at www.horseback.org.uk

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New Regional network to help the Armed Forces Community MOD improves support for our armed forces and veterans with launch of new support groups community. This includes compensation and pension schemes for those injured, disabled or bereaved through Service, advice services and the work of the MOD’s Veterans Welfare Service. •

The VAPC webpages provides contact information for the 13 regional committees

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has launched a new regional network primarily aimed at supporting veterans, serving personnel and their families through the pension and compensation process. The one year pilot scheme will see 13 new ‘Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committees (VAPCs)’ across the United Kingdom. THE VAPCs replace the previous ‘War Pension Committees’ but this is not simply a change of name. The new committees have been completely reconstituted and have a fresh focus and a much wider role. This includes: •

Acting as advocates for welfare support in the local area and improved cross-Government support. They will engage with the local authorities including through the Armed Forces ‘Welfare Pathway’ pilot schemes to fulfil this role. Raising awareness within their regions of the support available to veterans and the Armed Forces

“The new committees will ensure that the needs of veterans and their dependants are championed at every level from central government to the local community.” 14

Assisting serving personnel, their families and veterans in accessing the above services and other local support. This will include providing specific assistance and guidance to individuals in their areas and ensuring they are put in touch with the relevant organisations who can help. The committees will also provide an independent element to the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency’s complaints process.

Chairmen and members have now been appointed to all 13 committees. All are volunteers and come from a cross-section of the local community, including health, social care, legal professionals and veterans groups. Administration support for the VAPCs is provided by the MOD’s Service Personnel and Veterans Agency. Jon Parkin, the Agency’s Head of Veterans Services said: “We know from talking to veterans that problems they face can often result from issues affecting a specific area of the country. The new VAPCs will have a vital, on the ground, local knowledge of these issues and will help ensure that Service personnel and veterans needing assistance get the help that’s right for them, wherever they live.” “The new committees will ensure that the needs of veterans and their dependants are championed at every level from central government to the local community. We will assist in rebuilding the Armed Forces Covenant and work closely with local authorities, primary care trusts and Service charities in the delivery of services and benefits. The committees comprise of members drawn from all walks of life providing a wide range of experience and knowledge, a number of whom have previously served in the Armed Forces.

Located on a regional basis, our local knowledge makes us well placed to serve the veteran community.”

Contacts Members of the Armed Forces and Veterans community wanting to contact their local committee should contact the Veterans Welfare Centre for their area (see below) or the Veterans-UK Helpline 0800 169 2277. Alternatively more information can be found on the VAPC web-site www.veteransuk.info/vets_advisory.html

Veterans Welfare Centres South East and London 02392 702232 Wales and South West 01452 540825 The Midlands and Eastern 01562 825527 Scotland and Ireland 0141 224 2709 North West, North East, Yorks and Humber 01253 333494 Isle of Man 01624 687047


VETERANS ADVISORY & PENSIONS COMMITTEES(VA&PC) 1. East Scotland

10. South West

The City of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, The Borders, Clackmannan, The City of Dundee, The City of Dundee, The City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Highland, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Moray, Orkney, Perth and Kinross, Shetland, The Western Isles.

The Counties of Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, and the Isles of Scilly

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 0141 224 2709 2. West Scotland Argyll and Bute, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dumbarton and Clydebank, East Dunbartonshire, The City of Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Stirling.

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 01452 510825 11. South East The Counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey, and West Sussex

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 02392 702232 12. London

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 0141 224 2709

All of Greater London

3. North East

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 02392 702232

The Counties of Cleveland, Durham, and Northumberland, and the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear

13. Eastern

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 01253 333494

The Counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk

4. North West

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 01562 825527

The Counties of Cheshire, Cumbria and Lancashire and the metropolitan counties of Greater Manchester and Merseyside

14. Northern Ireland

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 01253 333494 5. Isle of Man Isle of Man

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 01253 333494

All of Northern Ireland

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 0141 224 2709 15. Republic of Ireland All of Republic of Ireland

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 0141 224 2709

6. Yorkshire and Humber The County of North Yorkshire, the metropolitan districts of Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Doncaster, Kirklees, Leeds, Rotherham, Sheffield, Wakefield, the non-metropolitan districts of East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston upon Hull, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and York.

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SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 01253 333494 7. Wales All of Wales

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SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 01452 510825

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8. West Midlands The counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire and the metropolitan county of West Midlands

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5

6

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SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 01562 825527 9. East Midlands The counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire., Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire

SPVA Veterans Welfare Centre: 01562 825527

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Centre to help “homeless war veterans” opens A new centre to help some of the hundreds of homeless war veterans across the UK opens in Newcastle upon Tyne. feel and camaraderie of communal living. The Norcare Veterans’ Centre has residential spaces for a total of five veterans who are expected to stay for between six and twelve months and will be supported to move on to independent living. It will also offer an outreach service to other veterans in the area and expects to help up to 75 veterans a year. Norcare will bring in experts from a variety of other organisations to provide the range of specialist support needed to help the veterans. The Newcastle centre has been set up as a pilot and it is hoped that other centres in other cities across the North East will follow.

The centre was officially opened by The Lord Mayor of Newcastle with special guest Thomas Sivell, a 104 year old veteran who saw service in the Far East as well as the Second World War.

The centre will be the first of its kind north of London and will help veterans who are homeless and suffering with mental health issues, alcohol and drug problems and family breakdown. THE Norcare Veterans’ Centre has been set up by housing support charity Norcare to help the growing population of exServicemen and women who struggle to adjust to life when they leave the Forces.

“The Norcare Veterans’ Centre is designed specifically for people from the Armed Forces...” 16

The Norcare Veterans’ Centre will offer supported accommodation in fully furnished en-suite rooms as well as outreach services such as training and employment support, welfare and debt advice, family liaison and counselling, health and wellbeing programmes and specialist help for issues such as trauma. Susan Bickerton, Norcare chief executive, said:

The Norcare Veterans’ Centre was established at a cost of £700,000. The British Legion provided £232,000 over a two-year period for the operational costs of running the centre, Norcare is investing £200,000 in the project, and the Futurebuilders England Fund has loaned Norcare £219,000 plus an additional grant of £47,000.

Contacts Further information about Norcare can be found by visiting www.norcare.co.uk.

“Some veterans do slip through the support net and end up homeless or suffering problems with alcohol or drug addiction or mental ill health. They might struggle to adapt to life outside the Forces and are reluctant to ask for help when they fall on hard times. “The Norcare Veterans’ Centre is designed specifically for people from the Armed Forces, providing the specialist support services that they need in an environment in which they feel comfortable.” The centre has been set up in a converted private house in Newcastle and aims to recreate a home from home for veterans, many of whom will be used to the family

Special guests at the official opening


Increase in mental healthcare support Extra provisions for Service personnel and veterans with mental health issues were announced in October.

Mental health professional Captain Steven Michelwright (right) speaks with a serviceman at the Camp Bastion field hospital in southern Afghanistan [Corporal Rich Denton, Crown Copyright/MOD 2008]

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox made the announcement of the new provisions following the publication of an independent Report by Dr Andrew Murrison MP – Fighting Fit – A mental health plan for servicemen and veterans’., which was published on 6 October.

30 extra mental health nurses in England dedicated to caring for veterans experiencing mental health difficulties

a 24 hour veterans mental health helpline

enhancements to existing Service medical examinations;

Issue 18 December 2010

a Veterans Information Service to be deployed 12 months after a person leaves the Armed Forces; and

trial of an online early intervention service for serving personnel and veterans.

The Government has accepted all of Dr Murrisons’s recommendations and the MOD is working with the Department of Health to implement them.

DR MURRISON'S report, which was commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron, makes wide-ranging recommendations including: •

A new purpose-built mental healthcare facility for Service personnel in Peterborough [Andy Cargill ABIPP, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

an uplift in the number of mental health professionals conducting veterans outreach work from Mental Health Trusts in partnership with a leading mental health charity;

Contacts The report, 'Fighting Fit - A mental health plan for servicemen and veterans', can be viewed at http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/Ab outDefence/CorporatePublications/Polic yStrategyandPlanning/FightingFitAMent alHealthPlanForServicemenAndVeterans. htm

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Helping Serving and ex-Service personnel cope with Multiple Sclerosis After the traumatic early days of diagnosis, Mutual Support continues to provide crucial support for its members long into the future. painful process of moving into the ever more complicated benefits system, claiming war pensions to making claims under AFCS is given. Residential support weekends are run, where members receive advice and guidance from expert speakers through a programme of presentations, seminars and group discussions. A diagnosis of MS for anyone is hard but it is much harder for Service personnel and their families because they lose not only their good health but also, ultimately, their careers and therefore, their service accommodation. Suzanne says “We know there are individuals out there who have MS and aren’t aware of Mutual Support, we want to let them know we are here to help, free of charge, in whatever way we can and urge them to contact us.” Membership of Mutual Support is free and open to serving and ex-serving members of the Armed Forces and Reserves, their dependants and carers.

Suzanne, Chairman of Mutual Support, run entirely by volunteers

Suzanne Crighton was a Flight Lieutenant with a promising career in front of her when she was given the shocking news that she had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). AT the time of diagnosis, Suzanne (pictured) was on a permanent commission with a promising career and expected to remain in the RAF until age 55, she felt very alone and vulnerable about her future and how MS would affect her and career. Fortunately for Suzanne, another officer with MS heard of her diagnosis and contacted her. Talking to someone in the same situation helped enormously and acknowledging the importance of this, the

officer explained that he wanted to set up a self-help group for military personnel with MS. Suzanne was immediately roped in to help and shortly afterwards, in 1991, Mutual Support was born. Unfortunately, Suzanne was medically discharged from the RAF in 1995 due to MS. Fast forward 19 years and she is now Chairman of this amazing group. Mutual Support offers support to serving and retired personnel and their dependants. The group is run entirely by volunteers from within the membership of 350. Life changing advice and guidance from the

“we are here to help” 18

Contacts For further information: email welfaresupport@mutualsupport.org.uk or visit www.mutualsupport.org.uk


Pathway Advances Forward Wigan Borough Veterans Council continues to strive to improve the lives of local area veterans organisations already work together at a local level, Des White, WBVC Chairman explained: “We welcome the Welfare Pathway initiative which builds on the framework we have already set up to provide practical advice and guidance for the veterans’ element of the Armed Forces Community in Wigan.”

Des White, Chairman of WBVC The Wigan Borough Veterans Council (WBVC) is a non-profit organisation that provides practical advice and guidance for veterans who have served in the UK Armed Forces and Merchant Navy, of all ages and backgrounds. It offers assistance to former Service personnel to ensure access to the many services offered by local authorities, ranging from Housing, Health and Social care, Employment and Education, as well as to Church services and helping with applications for Veterans Badges. THE WBVC are supporting the Armed Forces Community ‘Welfare Pathway’ pilot with Wigan Council to further benefit veterans and their families in Wigan. The goal is to ensure they get the help and support they require from the MOD, Statutory providers and the Voluntary and Community Sector. The WBVC already has a number of key partners with other organisations such as SPVA, RAFA, SSAFA, Combat Stress and is continuously expanding. These

“One of the benefits of a good relationship with the local council is the great deal of support they can provide.”

Issue 18 December 2010

“One of the benefits of a good relationship with the local council is the great deal of support they can provide. The WBVC and Wigan Council working closely together have come to an agreement that Service personnel and veterans now have priority in becoming a council tenant six months after leaving the Armed Forces.” Local Veterans Group meetings are held on a regular basis with members of the Local Council and representatives of statutory bodies to discuss what issues concern WBVC members and what services can be improved or introduced to better support the Armed Forces Community. As a non-profit organisation, it is run by several ex-Service volunteers who know what its members are going through and can identify with the concerns they may have. There are also a number of Voluntary and Community Sector volunteers. Anyone who wants to gain new skills and actively support the local community is welcome to join. The team also now includes two volunteers with previous experience in legal and disablement issues, who can act as advocates for veterans with any issues and concerns they may have.

Wigan Borough Veterans Council has been extremely proactive in supporting Wigan Council’s Welfare Pathway pilot scheme and expect to continue to work in partnership with the council, and the many local ex-Service organisations in the area, for continued success in the future. A veteran in need A veteran returned to Normandy on a trip arranged by his friends to visit the battle site and pay his respects to fellow comrades who died there. Sadly, the trip unlocked many distressing memories that had been buried for years and, shortly afterwards, he experienced a number of personal and domestic problems. After he contacted the WBVC, they provided support and counselling referrals to a partner organisation that helped him to get through this difficult time.

Contacts For more information about the service please visit www.veteranscouncil.org.uk You can also contact us on 01942 861019 or email wbvc@hotmail.co.uk Free National Point of Contact telephone number 08000 223366

WBVC Offices at Platt Bridge Community Zone

Editors Note: As the main partner of this year’s Armed Forces Day, WBVC attracted a staggering 10,000 attendees from the Wigan Borough area to honour the Armed Forces.

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Chronic pain help is at hand for veterans

Ex Royal Marine exercises after suffering long term chronic pain in his neck and back

Chronic pain can be a problem for some veterans, and can persist for years after the original injury has healed. Chronic pain can result from a range of injuries including combat-related injuries, and those sustained while on exercise or in training. CHRONIC PAIN can last for a considerable period and, for some people, can be hard to treat. Conventional painkillers are sometimes not effective for chronic pain, and there are often no simple medical or surgical answers. However, with specialist intensive help and treatment, it is possible to enjoy a better quality of life with chronic pain problems – the Bath Centre for Pain Services is a specialist NHS centre providing such interventions and they are already treating veterans. Some veterans have both chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from the same injury - each condition exacerbating the other – the pain is a constant reminder of the traumatic event, and the fear and tension often associated with PTSD can make the pain seem worse. Dr Jeremy Gauntlett-Gilbert of the Bath Centre for Pain Services said: “There are

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some veterans out there who are really in trouble with pain, long-standing disability and emotional difficulties. They have often seen many doctors and already take the strongest painkillers, but they are still ‘stuck’ in their lives and need help to move forward. Specialist pain rehabilitation can sometimes help – but you need the right mixture of expertise so that the rehab team can handle issues of PTSD when they come up.” The Bath Centre for Pain Services is an example of a national, specialist NHS service that provides intensive, specialist rehabilitation for chronic pain problems and is also staffed with specialists who can help with problems of psychological trauma. Veterans are treated alongside

“Although this kind of help is not a guaranteed ‘cure’ for chronic pain, it can help some people to become fitter, more positive and more able to deal with their emotions.”

other patients in order to help re-integration into civilian life. The rehab is tough, and both physically and emotionally challenging. Sometimes veterans need to learn to slow down and pace themselves – often the opposite of what they did in their Service careers. Although this kind of help is not a guaranteed ‘cure’ for chronic pain, it can help some people to become fitter, more positive and more able to deal with their emotions. Although this kind of help is not a guaranteed ‘cure’ for chronic pain, it can help some people to become fitter, more positive and more able to deal with their emotions.

Contacts For further information on this service, call Dr Jeremy Gauntlett-Gilbert or Dr Lance McCracken on 01225 473 427 or visit www.bathcentreforpainservices.nhs.uk . It is located at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, which provides NHS services that can help veterans with chronic pain and head injuries – www.rnhrd.nhs.uk


Inverclyde veterans’ initiative gets green light Scottish Association for Mental Health to continue with its veterans service. Following a year-long pilot project to support veterans with problematic alcohol and social issues, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) has announced that it intends to continue its ‘Gateways for Veterans service’. THE successful project, which ran in Inverclyde from March 2009 to March 2010, saw the employment of a dedicated Veterans Bridgeworker, working directly with veterans and their families. The aim of the service was to encourage veterans to self-manage and make informed choices, enabling them to engage with wider social support networks.

“I still have a long way to go in dealing with my addictions and financial problems, however I‘m going to give it a try.”

Within a seven-month period, 46 veterans received the support required to enable them to access veterans’ agencies and local resources. Some of the problems faced by veterans who used the service included: •

The use of alcohol and other substances as a coping mechanism for mental health issues related to their time in service Financial issues, lack of awareness of how to claim for benefits, and difficulties with form filling

Issue 18 December 2010

Relationship, unemployment and housing issues

Delaying asking for support or advice, with delays ranging from two to 34 years

SAMH was keen to continue its work with veterans in Inverclyde beyond the pilot. Now the veterans support service will be incorporated into the organisation’s existing service provision in the area. Gateways To Service has a strong focus on the principles of social inclusion and encourages people to develop wider social contacts within their community. The service offers support to establish positive links with community activities and resources which could improve a person’s health and wellbeing and prevent social isolation.

Bernie McKee, SAMH Veterans Bridgeworker

Veterans who engaged with the service have spoken about the support they were given:

of national veterans’ agencies was also very poor.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone about my feelings in 12 years, “said one. “I feel very isolated and lonely at times. I now feel as if I’ve got something to get up for in the morning. I’m enjoying my computing classes and being in among company.”

“My understanding of veterans’ issues has changed considerably after hearing about their experiences of being in the Armed Forces, and the barriers they and their families have faced in the transition from military to civilian life.”

“Thank you for listening to me. I really appreciate the support from Gateways for Veterans and the veterans’ agencies. I still have a long way to go in dealing with my addictions and financial problems, however I ‘m going to give it a try. I didn’t know where to turn to before I came to the service.” Bernie McKee, the SAMH Veterans Bridgeworker, said: “The pilot highlighted the lack of awareness for veterans in accessing local resources and services that could be beneficial to the issues they were facing, including their own isolation. Awareness

“My understanding of veterans’ issues has changed considerably . . .” Contacts To find out more about the Gateways To Service in Inverclyde call : 01475 806 013 or write to: SAMH Gateways To Service, 7/8 Broomhill Way, Greenock. PA15 4HE

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Veterans encouraged to

How one charity promotes welfare and rehabilitation of di

The BEWSA Team of divers complete their warm water diving training

British Ex-Services Wheelchair Sports Association (BEWSA) was formed in 1987, after a small group of disabled ex-Service men and women received an invitation to participate in the Paralysed Veterans of America annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games, the largest wheelchair games in the

“veterans train in all aspects of sport from archery and basketball, to track and field events” 22

world. BEWSA is the only ex-Service association, outside the USA, allowed to compete and will be sending teams to the 30th National Veterans games in 2011. THE members train in all aspects of sport from archery and basketball, to track and field events; each person is encouraged and supported by BEWSA to train to the highest level of their ability. Edwin Thomas, BEWSA Chairman explained, “Training weekends and welfare clinics are held monthly at RAF Cosford, West Midlands. We also provide assistance with the provision of training, equipment, wheelchairs, and costs towards specialist events from tennis to ice hockey. We’re looking at rehabilitation at its best and where needed.”

Did you know? BEWSA became the first British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) registered disabled scuba diving branch, called Millennium 2000. It has given disabled veterans the opportunity to become qualified divers, 12 are now qualified, others are nearing qualification. A team of disabled divers recently visited the Red Sea to complete their warm water diving training. BEWSA also provides advice on welfare matters, entitlement to benefits, disability rights and issues, as well as undertaking grant applications to the main Armed Forces/Service charities and Regimental Associations. Referrals to BEWSA can be made personally by veterans or via Service and ex-Service organisations; visits and talks can be also arranged.


o become team players.

disabled veterans through sport and training. BEWSA changed my life Emma Burns, a disabled veteran, explains: “I served both on a minesweeper as a reservist and later as a weapons engineering artificer. I very much enjoyed my service and feel I gained a lot from time I spent in the Royal Navy. Before and during my time in the Royal Navy I was always actively involved in sport, everything from volleyball to field hockey and judo. When in 2001 a car pulled out in front of my motorbike on the way to a night class at college I thought that all the pleasure I had gained from sport would come to an abrupt end now that I was in a wheelchair, and for a few years it did. Things began to change when I and my husband moved to England. I was surfing the internet one day when I found a site showing ex-Servicemen, who were wheelchair users like me, shot-putting, diving and generally being active and enjoying themselves in the process. Shortly after joining BEWSA, I received a phone call welcoming me to the association and asking me if I would like to go to the 2006 National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Alaska. The ensuing training weekends were some of my first experiences of disabled wheelchair sport and I found I absolutely loved it and that was before I even managed to get to the US! Alaska was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life; I have never seen so many disabled veterans, never mind wheelchair users. I know that this would have been impossible without the continued help of the various Service charities who have supported BEWSA’s work with disabled veterans for many years. I would not have been able to achieve what I have. I would truly like to thank them for the funds they provided for the life-changing experience that I have had and hope that their support can continue to allow other veterans to have the same opportunity as me.”

“The ensuing training weekends were some of my first experiences of disabled wheelchair sport and I found I absolutely loved it . . .”

Contacts For more information call the BEWSA chairman Edwin Thomas, JP on 01326 318780, email chairmanbewsa@btinternet.com or visit www.bewsa.org. For welfare enquiries call Richard Simmons on 01670 363192 or email r.simmons12@btinternet.com

Issue 18 December 2010

Andrew Mcerlean (former

REME) kitting up 23


Supporting Veterans seeking employment From Career to Career

Each year, over 18,500 people leave the UK Armed Forces and make the transition to civilian life. Since October 1998, resettlement services for leavers of the Armed Forces have been provided by the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) which is a partnering agreement between the Ministry of Defence and Right Management, who are global career development and outplacement specialists.

“Support does not end once leavers have been out of the Forces...”

Association Scotland, are registered Charities, who provide employment help and support to all ex-Service men and women throughout their working lives.

Major employers recognise the skills service leavers can bring to the workplace

FULL Resettlement support is available to eligible Service leavers from two years before discharge from the Forces and up to two years afterwards. This covers one-to-one support from a career consultant, undertaking vocational training courses and finding that all important job in ‘Civvy Street’. Career Consultants can advise on tailoring CVs to a specific job specification and help with preparation for interview and through attendance at different workshops, leavers realise their transferable skills and how to market them to employers.

“Many major employers already use the CTP job finding services”

upload vacancies and search for candidates. All Employment Consultants are experts in their local employment market and through direct liaison with employers provide a constant flow of job opportunities and well-informed guidance and advice on opportunities in their local area. Many major employers already use the CTP job finding services because they recognise that Service leavers can bring not only professional skills but excellent transferable qualities to their organisations. These include soft skills and attributes such as self discipline; reliability, teamwork and loyalty which are of great value to employers. Many major employers already use the CTP job finding services Supporting Veterans for Life

Job Finding Support CTP employment services are provided by 24 Employment Consultants around the UK and an online job matching website, RightJob, which can be accessed via the CTP website. Service leavers can log on to search for jobs that fit their criteria and employers can register at no cost and

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Support does not end once leavers have been out of the Forces for more than two years and are therefore no longer eligible for resettlement services. In addition to their work as part of the Career Transition Partnership, the Regular Forces Employment Association (RFEA), The Officers’ Association (OA) and the Officers’

Service leavers have transferable skills that can be used in Civvy Street

Contacts Veterans seeking employment, can contact the Central Employment Team on 0121 236 0058. For information on resettlement or to find the location and contact details of an Employment Consultant visit www.ctp.org.uk Editors Note: You may also be interested in the following links: www.rfea.org.uk www.officersassociation.org.uk www.oascotland.org.uk


SPVA News The regular feature providing you with updates from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency Our Survey Said . . . Reasons why you should be visiting the Veterans-UK website.

most visitors but we want to do more to ensure we are meeting their needs. We’re really pleased that 75 per cent of those completing the survey were veterans themselves. In January 2010 we introduced a new ‘Veterans Community’ area to the site with a ‘news’ section showing latest announcements, discounts and special offers specially for veterans.

Honouring the fallen, Fromelles the search continues The Agency also released a podcast exploring the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and the continuing search for relatives of those

“With this in mind, I would ask readers of Veterans WORLD and the SPVA Blog to consider sending us items of interest to the Veterans Community for publishing online.”

The SPVA website – www.veterans-uk.info – holds information that will be of interest to the Armed Forces Community and, if you work as an advisor, may provide you with advice that can help you support veterans. In a recent survey, more than 300 visitors to the website gave an insight into what they find useful. The results showed: • •

• • •

80% would definitely or probably recommend the site to a friend; The most searched for information is: Service records and medals information, pensions and compensation, Veterans Community information; 76% got some, most or all of what they wanted 92% were content with how easy they found the site to use (69% good/very good); and 95% were content with how clear and easy to understand the site was (74% good/very good).

“Very helpful, gave me some of the information I needed and gave me directions as to where I could find other facts.”

David Johnson, SPVA External Communications Manager, explained the value of the survey: “We want the Veterans-UK website to be the focal point on the web for accessing information on support for UK ex-Service personnel and their families. The results show the site is well used and valued by

Issue 18 December 2010

Video casts an eye on history. In October, SPVA released the third in its series of videos highlighting a variety of items of interest to the Service and veterans community. In the latest release, presenter Don Goldie looks at the work of the Historic Casualty Casework team, a small, dedicated unit working within the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC). The Casework team deals with all enquires relating to individual military fatalities outside the recent past and co-ordinates investigations following the discovery of human remains of personnel killed in the First and Second World Wars. This fascinating work involves attempts to identify the casualty and trace their next of kin or descendants. They then arrange an appropriate military funeral in the country concerned, if that is the wish of the family. The team has recently been heavily involved in the Fromelles Project which called for their expertise in the identification and reburial of 250 British and Australian troops who were killed during the battle in 1916. The video features an interview with Sue Raftree, head of the Fromelles team, who explains the procedures that were undertaken in attempting to identify the remains of those bodies recovered from their original resting place.

who died at Fromelles during the First World War. Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery is the newest cemetery constructed by the CWGC and is the final resting place for 250 soldiers who died at the Battle of Fromelles in 1916. These soldiers were recently discovered in series of communal graves in northern France. The search still continues to find relatives of those soldiers. Ranald Leask, CWGC said: “The podcast is a great way to find out about the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and our recent work at Fromelles. It will provide muchneeded awareness of our continuing search to find relatives of those soldiers killed at Fromelles.” SPVA videocasts and podcasts are available to view on the Veterans-UK website, www.veterans-uk/info and on various social media sites such as iTunes and YouTube. SPVA News continues on Page 26

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Veterans World Noticeboard Seafarers UK new-look website Visitors to the Seafarers UK website will notice that it has been given a new look. community, including veterans of both the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy. Visitors can also view a new set of films that give an insight into the difference the charity makes to people’s lives. One of the videos features the story of John, a former Royal Marine and wheelchair sports enthusiast who explains how funding

The site has kept much of the content and features from before but is clearer and easier to navigate. Seafarers are hoping that both supporters and grant applicants will find it more straightforward to use. THE Seafarers UK website is also the home of the Nautical Welfare Guide, which is produced under the auspices of the Maritime Charities Funding Group (MCFG). The guide is a directory of charities that provide help to those from the maritime

Still from Ian’s story from Seafarers UK is helping disabled seafarers gain new skills and confidence. Also featured is Ian, a Falklands veteran who was sleeping rough in London until his life was turned around by Veteran’s Aid, another charity that Seafarers UK gives money to.

SPVA News cont. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. Meeting other young bereaved servic can be very reassu e parents association for the ring. Each service has a widow s’ partners of peopl service. Their details e who die in are below. Cruse has been helping bereaved children for more people and their to bereaved peoplthan 50 years – our services are free e.

The Agency’s latest podcast, released in November, provides an update on a project developing services for bereaved members of the Armed Forces Community. How to contact Cruse Bereaveme National helplin nt Care e: Email: helpline@cr0844 477 9400 Cruse young peopl use.org.uk e’s helpline: 0808 Cruse website: www.cruse.org.uk 808 1677 military families) (with a section for Cruse young peopl e’s website: www. RD4U.org.uk Cruse Central Office Telephone: 0208 939 9530 Fax: 0208 940 1671 Email: info@cruse. org.uk

Cruse Northern Irelan Knockbracken Health d care Park Saintfield Road, Belfast BT8 8HB Telephone: 028 9079 www.cruseni.org 2419 .uk

Cruse Bereavement Care, a national charity, is running the three-year project, funded by the Department of Health. Jenny Green, the Project Manager takes part in the podcast interview, providing news of the Project’s progress. 2TP

Cruse Bereaveme Riverview House nt Care Scotland Friarton Road, Perth www.crusescotla PH2 8DF nd.org.uk Service Widow s Assoc Army: www.armyw iations Naval & Marines: idows.org.uk www.rnrmwidows RAF: www.rafwid owsassociation.orassociation.org g.uk Sponsored by a grant from ABF The Soldie rs’ Charity

Jenny said: “The podcast is a great way to provide wider awareness of what the Project hopes to achieve in support of the Armed Forces Community. Our aim is to provide accessible support, establish new services and give service specific training for those who are supporting bereaved people.”

Contacts if you would like further information or get involved in supporting bereaved Service Families visit www.cruse.org.uk and click onto the Military section. Alternatively, email Jenny Green, Armed Forces Project Manager, Cruse Bereavement Care jenny.green@cruse.org.uk

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Please take a look at www.seafarers-uk.org.

John learns new skills

Latest SPVA podcast looks at bereavement care

Cruse Wales Ty Energlyn Gwrt Llanfabon, Caerphilly, CF83

Contacts

Christmas Opening Times During the festive period, our Helpline and Welfare staff are contactable during the following dates: Date

Open/Closed

From

To

Mon 20 Dec to Thur 23 Dec Open

08.15

17.15

Fri 24 Dec Christmas Eve

08.15

16.30

Open

Mon 27 Dec to Wed 29 Dec Closed Thurs 30 Dec

Open

08.15

17.15

Fri 31 Dec New Years Eve

Open

08.15

16.30

Mon 3 Jan 2011

Closed

Tues 4 Jan to Thur 6 Jan

Open

08.15

17.15

Fri 7 Jan

Open

08.15

16.30

How to contact us: Call the Veterans-UK Helpline - FREE 0800 1692277 Minicom (textphone) users call: 0800 169 3458 Overseas Callers +44 1253 866043 email: veterans.help@spva.gsi.gov.uk Web: www.veterans-uk.info Editors: Note Don’t forget you can also follow SPVA on Twitter and keep updated on news from the Agency.


New charity launched to provide assistance dogs to injured Service personnel and disabled veterans, see page 9

Veterans World - Issue 18  

Raising awareness of the range of help and advice available to UK Veterans.

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