Charities come together to support veteran community during Coronavirus

Pictures of veterans Published Wednesday, 24th June 2020

National, regional and local military charities and veteran services have joined forces across Worcestershire, ensuring the county’s veterans receive the help they need during the Coronavirus pandemic

Armed Forces Week began on the 22nd June, providing the ideal opportunity to evaluate and support the work being done to support the county’s veterans.

Our national military charities such as SSAFA, which is the oldest military charity, continue to offer practical and emotional support via phone and online to the Armed Forces family.

Their trained caseworkers, who are all volunteers, operate throughout the county providing advice, guidance, and funding support to individuals in need of physical, financial, and emotional care. This service extends to those veterans and their families who are serving custodial sentences.

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

As a dedicated project for older veterans they have been providing ‘Virtual Visitor’ telephone calls to those who are feeling isolated or concerned.  They are also carrying out guided conversations by telephone.

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

The team aim to support people on a wide range of topics including benefits, help at home, mobility, navigating care, dementia wellbeing, accessing digital technology.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with 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 that 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.”

Stepway, based in Worcester have taken their support online, with virtual drop in meetings being held regularly on Skype and counselling sessions taking place on Zoom. Once lockdown restrictions were lifted to encourage more outdoor activity the charity were quick to respond. 

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.

A number of their veterans are now attending regularly and safely, giving them a rare opportunity to leave the house, learn new skills and enjoy the outside world.

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

For further information on Worcestershire organisations who are supporting the Armed Forces veteran community during COVID-19, please go to the armed forces pages on the Council website.