A pioneering new advice and support centre aimed at helping ex-service men and women adjust back into civilian life has been officially opened.
The Coventry & Warwickshire Veterans Contact Point, Located in the Nuneaton Town Hall, is the first of its kind in the country and will provide help and support to anyone who has previously served in the armed forces, bringing together the organisations that are able to help.
The Veterans Contact Point project was established and driven forward by Len Hardy of the Warwickshire Probation Service who also acts as the Civilian Committee Chairman of 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron Air Training Corps. Len has in fact had his outstanding efforts in establishing the Veterans Contact Point officially recognised and is one of four nationally nominated finalists in the ‘Changing Lives' Probation Service Awards for Partnership Work.
Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for the County of Warwickshire , Martin Dunne, representatives from the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), the Royal British Legion (RBL) and Help for Heroes were all present when the doors were officially opened after the ribbon was cut by the Mayor of Nuneaton & Bedworth, Cllr Neil Phillips.
The project supported by the Veterans Partnership: The Lord Lieutenant, SSAFA Forces Help, The Royal British Legion, ABF/The Soldiers Charity, Job Centre Plus/DWP, Combat Stress and Warwickshire Police, has been funded through the Coventry and Warwickshire branch of SSAFA as well as through European funding awarded to the Warwickshire Probation Service.
Cllr Neil Phillips, Mayor of Nuneaton and Bedworth said, “ Nuneaton and Bedworth has a close relationship with the armed forces and this has been demonstrated a number of times through the many parades that have taken place. I welcome the opening of this service. A lot of hard work has been done to get it up and running and as a Council we will be doing as much as possible to support it."
Len Hardy, Veterans Contact Point Manager, said, “Volunteers will be on hand to work with veterans who need help and support whether they are finding out about the benefits they could be entitled to, accessing grants to set up a business when leaving the services or looking for support to get back on track after committing an offence, the centre is there to help. Many ex-service men and women have seen front-line action, and this trauma can have an impact on the rest of their lives.”
Jason Wilkins, a veteran himself and also a volunteer at the centre said, “I am passionate about my role in the Veterans Contact Point. As a veteran myself I know how difficult it has been to get the support I needed when leaving the forces. I am committed to helping other veterans get the support they need as soon as possible, so I would urge anyone out there who has previously served in the forces to give us a call or come along to the Town Hall to see how we can help.”
The main message from the centre is not to suffer in silence, but come along and gain the support that is available to live a fulfilling life outside of the forces.
For further information please visit the website www.veteranscontactpoint.co.uk
or contact: Len Hardy – firstname.lastname@example.org