Past members of the armed forces in North Yorkshire were united at a special visit to Newby Hall, as part of a new service to raise awareness and support for older veterans.
The veterans were treated to lunch and a guided tour of Newby Hall, with transport to and from the venue being provided. The day proved a great success for five veterans and four carers, giving them a chance to meet new people and get out and about. Comments about the day included:
“It’s been lovely to be out as it’s taken my mind off other things.”
“Today has been wonderful as I find it difficult to get out and about and to meet people.”
Tackling loneliness and isolation is just one of the aims of Ex-Forces Support North Yorkshire, run by Community First Yorkshire and a consortium of partners.
Leah Swain, Chief Executive of Community First Yorkshire, said: “Days like these are invaluable for veterans who may be feeling isolated and lonely. Our older veterans have given so much for this country and it is essential that they receive the care, value and recognition they deserve in later life.
According to the British Legion Household Survey 2014, the ex-service community are elderly with almost half over 75 years old. Key areas older veterans struggle with are getting around outside the home, mobility and self-care and depression. Issues around mobility and self-care, which reach a peak among people aged 75+, were highlighted during the day as a number of attendees required assistance from volunteers to get around.
For many, a simple undertaking such as getting out of the house and meeting other people can be an impossible task if you are isolated and struggle with mobility. The project wants to connect veterans by providing sociable days out where issues such as transport, access and wheelchairs are overcome by our staff and volunteers.
The work is being backed by a consortium of 14 organisations and will contribute to the support offered by service charities by focusing on the health and wellbeing of our older veterans.
The charities involved, from Age UK to Carers Resource to Saint Michael’s Hospice, are all experienced in working with older people who may have complex needs.
Examples of the range of support on offer from Ex-Forces Support North Yorkshire include home visits to look at improvements around the house, healthy lifestyle courses, opportunities to take part in trips and new activities, befriending and volunteering, and help and advice for carers and families.
Any veteran over the age of 65 is eligible, as well as anyone who completed National Service conscription or supported the armed forces through a role in the Merchant Navy. The 3-year project covers North Yorkshire and is funded by the Aged Veterans Fund at the Ministry of Defence by the Chancellor using LIBOR fines.