South Sefton fall silent for Remembrance Day

HUNDREDS of people paid their respect to fallen soldiers last weekend as Remembrance Day events were held across south Sefton.

Residents, ex-servicemen and politicians gathered on the morning of Sunday, November 13 at war memorials in Crosby, Waterloo, Litherland and Bootle to commemorate those who have died in conflict.

Events were held at Alexandra Park in Crosby; Sefton Road’s War Memorial in Litherland; the Five Lamps War Memorial in Waterloo; and King’s Garden in Bootle.

Some of those in attendance included leader of Sefton Council, Ian Maher, Bootle MP Peter Dowd and Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson.

Sefton Veterans Project Unveils Development Plans

A Sefton project that supports military veterans, serving personnel and their families has unveiled plans to develop the scope of its operations.

Sefton Veterans Project has also changed its name to Veterans in Sefton as part of a drive to broaden its funding base and establish itself as an independent organisation.

Veterans in Sefton was set up in 2014, one of more than 50 local groups to receive funding from South Sefton and Southport & Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in recent years.

Until recently, it was based at the Bowersdale Resource Centre in Sefton, where its services and activities were co-ordinated by mental health charity Expect Ltd.

These included a drop-in information and advice service, mentor support and social events.

However, with the blessing of Expect Ltd and the CCGs, the project has been working with voluntary, community and faith sector support organisation Sefton CVS to establish itself as a new Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

Amongst other benefits, this will allow the project to apply for funding from a wider range of sources and, over time, to expand its range of support services for former and current military personnel.

As part of this process, staff and volunteers – who are all ex-forces personnel – have moved to new premises at the Brunswick Youth Club on Marsh Lane in Bootle.

And with the help of funding from Sefton Council, the project has also been able to take on former Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer Steve Calderbank as its Holistic Care Co-ordinator.

Steve – a trained psychotherapeutic counsellor – will act as a key link between veterans with mental health problems and the mainstream services that can provide the help they need.

According to Veterans in Sefton Project Manager, Dave Smith, this and the project’s other services are much in demand in the borough with current clients aged from 19 to 95.

According to NHS figures, there are an estimated 27,000 veterans under the age of 65 in Sefton, around 13 per cent of whom have complex issues that need to be addressed.

Dave Smith commented: “We are now embarking on a new and exciting phase in the development of our organisation, which provides a much-needed service to some of the brave men and women who have given so generously to this great nation of ours.

“On behalf of our staff and volunteers I would like to thank Expect Ltd, the CCGs, Sefton Council and Sefton CVS for all their advice and ongoing support.

“We are now looking forward to continuing our work supporting local armed forces communities, and to demonstrating how Sefton can take the lead in veteran care in the future.”

Launch Event – New Recovery Community for Veterans

Mersey Care NHS Trust, The Royal British Legion and Tom Harrison House invite you to the launch of:

                                         National Veterans Community Recovery

The first ever seamless detox, rehabilitation and reintegration project designed specifically for addicted military veterans from across the UK.

Come along to find out about this unique and innovative partnership project, meet with key staff, and hear from veterans who have already benefitted about how their lives have been changed through their engagement.

Monday 11th July 11:00 – 13:00
at the Royal British Legion Pop In Centre
25-31 Williamson Street, Liverpool L1 1EB

Royal British Legion Handy Vans Service

If you’re having trouble with those small household repairs and minor adaptations around your home and are one of the Royal British Legion’s beneficiaries, then you could benefit from the Handy Van Service.

The Royal British Legion have a dedicated and trusted team of experienced handypeople who are fully trained to carry out low-level maintenance in your home, including:

  • Changing light bulbs and tap washers
  • Putting up shelves, curtain rails and grab rails
  • Fitting smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Fitting and changing door locks and other security features
  • Building access ramps and storage sheds to house Legion-provided Electrically Propelled Vehicles
  • Installing care phones.

Call for free on 0800 032 0306 or email homesupportadmin@britishlegion.org.uk.

Or click here to download an enquiry form.

 

New Armed Forces Website Launched

A new Armed Forces Covenant website has launched this month.

The new online site will act as the central hub of information for all matters relating to the Armed Forces Covenant, with specific areas detailing Support and advice for:

  • Current Service Personnel (Regular and Reserve)
  • Service families
  • Service leavers
  • Former Service Personnel
  • Businesses

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

The website also contains information for supporters of the Covenant, including businesses, charities, the general public and local authorities, and regular news stories about how the Covenant is helping real people.

Sefton Veterans Project helps Seaforth hero receive his father’s lost medals

A WAR hero from Seaforth has been formally presented with the medals of his father who served in the First World War.

Henry Edward Whetnall, 89, was joined by other veterans at the Bowersdale Centre where they were given medals in a touching ceremony attended by the Mayor of Sefton and MP Peter Dowd.

Henry, who served for his country during the 1939-45 period in a bomb disposal team in Palestine, has social media to thank for helping to reunite him with his father’s medals.

The Champion reported in February 2015 how the ex-serviceman was given his own medals which he had lost after getting help from Sefton Veteran’s Project.

The group then shared the story on social media and Henry’s distant cousin, Rita, who lives in America, spotted it while researching her own family tree and decided to get in touch.

She helped Henry locate his father’s medals and a presentation was held on Wednesday, March 2.

David Smith of Expect Ltd and Project Manager of the Sefton Veterans Project, said: “It was an incredible story last year. When Henry told us about his missing medals, we worked hard to track them down from the Ministry of Defence, and it was a very moving presentation.

“As soon as Rita got in touch, we knew we had to present Henry with his father’s original medals to give the honour and respect both men deserved.”

Sefton Veterans Project is delivered by the charity Expect Ltd, a charity providing services to people living with learning disability and mental health problems.

The project’s primary focus is the mental wellbeing of ex-service personnel and their families, and part of its work is to track down and reunite veterans with their missing medals.

Two other local veterans, Tess Cameron and Colin Johnson, joined Henry last week as they also received lost medals.

Tess, who served in the Royal Navy from 1943-46, was reunited with her Second World War General Service Medal and Colin, who served in the Royal Green Jackets, received the Long Service and Good Conduct medal, awarded after 18 years of service.

David added: “Reuniting veterans with lost medals is just one aspect of our work.

“We believe it’s incredibly important to formally acknowledge these military honours.

“It’s bringing back pride, recognising those who risked their lives, and not forgetting theirs and their fallen comrades’ sacrifices.”

The medals were presented by Commodore Gary Doyle, a senior Royal Navy officer and the new regional commander for Northern England and the Isle of Man.

Lost Voices: new report investigates hearing problems among Armed Forces and veterans

The Royal British Legion calls on Government to do more to support Service personnel and veterans with hearing problems.

The Royal British Legion today calls on the Government to provide better support and recognition to members of the Armed Forces and veterans with hearing problems caused by military Service. In a report entitled Lost Voices, published today, the Legion reveals that veterans under the age of 75 are three-and-a-half times more likely than the general population to report problems with their hearing.

Lost Voices argues that working-age veterans with Service-induced hearing problems should be eligible for ‘special treatment’, in line with the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. Lost Voices reports the findings of Legion research on hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears), and makes a number of recommendations for Government. It was produced by the Legion in collaboration with the Ear Institute at University College London, Action on Hearing Loss and the British Tinnitus Association.

Lost Voices _serving

At a minimum, the Legion calls on the Government to:

  • Enable working-age veterans to access higher grade hearing aids, including less conspicuous ‘in the ear’ hearing aids, and ensure that all veterans can have their MOD-issued aids serviced and replaced at no cost;
  • Compensate Service personnel and veterans properly for hearing problems caused by their time in the military. This should consider both damage caused during Service and any differences between the hearing of a veteran of a particular age, compared with a non-veteran of the same age, to take account of the long term impact of hearing problems caused by Service; and
  • Invest in the EARSHOT Centre – a proposed new centre of research and clinical expertise. Long-term investment would allow a thorough programme of research on Service-related hearing loss to be set up.

Chris Simpkins, Director General of The Royal British Legion, said: “Hearing loss is one of the signature injuries of war and military Service, and it can have a profound effect on career prospects, relationships, social life and mental health.

“Many veterans, some of whom have been discharged due to hearing loss, are not eligible for compensation. Some find themselves having to pay out of their own pockets for military-issued hearing aids to be serviced and replaced. This is unacceptable.

“Our report calls on the Government to do more to recognise the sacrifices made by Service people and veterans suffering from hearing loss and tinnitus, and the importance of good hearing to a healthy, productive and happy life.”

Read the full report (in PDF format) here.