Bristol Veterans’ Hub celebrates successful first year with Deputy Mayor

Veterans’ organisations in Bristol celebrated a successful first year of the monthly ‘one-stop shop’ hub where veterans can learn about available support and meet up with their contemporaries.

The Bristol Veterans’ Hub – which launched in July 2022 at Bedminster Cricket Club – was driven by the local team from Armed Forces charity Help for Heroes, in tandem with Op Courage, the veterans’ mental health service from the NHS, and Veterans UK, the Ministry of Defence’s dedicated support organisation for service personnel, veterans and their families.

It brought together more than 10 organisations – including Help for Heroes, Op Courage, Veterans UK, Royal British Legion, SSAFA (the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association), the Forces Employment Charity, Department of Work and Pensions, the Poppy Factory, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Trust (RAFBT), and Dudes & Dogs – to enable former military personnel to discover the support available to them from a variety of public and charitable bodies.

When organisers celebrated the first anniversary last week, again at Bedminster CC, they were joined by the city’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Paula O’Rourke, who cut a special celebratory cake.

Addressing the representatives of the organisations involved, she said:

“It’s a real pleasure and a privilege for me to see the service that’s been pulled together.

“It’s very busy because you are efficiently offering a multiple of services that are needed. Going around and talking to the different components that are here, you can really see how efficient and effective it is.

“We all know there are veterans who are lonely and isolated, needing help, and there are services there – and benefits – they’re not getting because they don’t have the knowledge, the aptitude, or the ability to get them. I know that at the end of today, you will have made some people’s lives better.

“It’s not only the veterans who benefit from today – and there’s no doubt they will. I can see that you form your own community; you make friendships here and build bonds to find your place of belonging in this hub. I am very grateful for all that you do. Well done, all of you.”

Help for Heroes’ Case Manager Paul Mouncher said:

“Over the last year we’ve averaged about a dozen veterans at each of our hubs, probably evenly split, each time, between newcomers and those returning to avail themselves of the service once more.

“It’s been a resounding success and a great advert for what can be achieved when like-minded organisations collaborate effectively. People who have left service in the last 10 years often don’t class themselves as a veteran and don’t realise they are entitled to support.

“The veteran criterion is anybody who has been paid for one day in the Armed Forces, and covers all ages, regardless of whether they have been in a conflict zone. It’s important for younger veterans to realise this support is available to them and that’s what we have attempted to achieve with this hub.”

He added:

“Our thanks go out again to Bedminster Cricket Club, which has opened up its facilities for free for the last year and continues to support the hub moving forward.”

“Help for Heroes champions the Armed Forces community and helps them live well after service. The charity helps them, and their families, to recover and get on with their lives. It has already supported more than 30,000 people and won’t stop until every veteran gets the support they deserve.

The Charity supports veterans from any branch of the UK military – regulars or reserves – irrespective of length or place of service, and locally embedded civilians (and their families) who worked alongside our Armed Forces.

The hub meets on the final Thursday of the month at Bedminster Cricket Club (BS3 2JX), from 10am to 3pm. Entry is free, appointments are not required, and refreshments are available.

Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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