22nd Sep, 2020

United front is giving veterans top support

MILITARY charities and veterans services across Worcestershire have joined forces to ensure the county’s veterans receive the help they need during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Armed Forces Week, which ran from last Monday to Saturday, provided the ideal opportunity to evaluate the work being done to support our towns and city’s ex-servicemen and women.

Charities such as SSAFA are offering practical, physical, financial and emotional support through trained volunteer caseworkers on phone lines and via online services.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Age UK has been supporting veterans through their Joining Forces programme, taking over 1,000 calls from veterans.

They have made available ‘Virtual Visitor’ telephone calls to those feeling isolated or concerned and have carried out guided conversations by telephone.

These guided conversations help ensure individuals have the support that they need to live as independently as they want.

Among the issues they can help with are benefits, help at home, mobility, navigating care dementia wellbeing and accessing digital technology.

Worcester-based Stepway have been operating online with regular virtual drop-in meetings on Skype and counselling sessions on Zoom.

And since the lockdown restrictions were eased a number of Stepway veterans have been attending regularly and safely in person, giving them the chance to leave the house, learn new skills and enjoy the outside world.

Worcestershire Community Foundation awarded Stepway with a Covid-19 grant to part-fund equipment for a Forest Garden and Beekeeping project based at Pitchcroft, Worcester.

And they are also inviting caseworkers from partner organisations to meet their clients outdoors in a quiet and safe place.

Coun Lucy Hodgson, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “It has been really heartening to see military charities really coming to the forefront during the pandemic.

“The tireless work that has gone in to adapting their existing services to ensure veterans get the help and support they need during these testing times has been truly brilliant.

“They remain dedicated in helping our heroes, and they are heroes in their own light.”

Visit worcestershire.gov.uk/partnership/armedforcesCOVID19 for more information.

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