Vulnerable Veterans have been helping veterans, reserves and their families, and serving services’ personnel for almost two years. We have helped over 36 people who have been in contact with the criminal justice system or become homeless.
In this time none of our service users have been sent to prison. Now whilst we are pleased with that fact we know that it is a false target: at some time in the future one of our guys or girls may need to be imprisoned for their or societies sake. What we ARE pleased to have achieved in “snapshots” is: changing the British Army’s mind over continuing to employ a soldier. Also supporting a former Para to start a Veterans drop-in and we are pleased to have saved the government (and us the taxpayers) over £600,000.
Every case has been very different but one of our most rewarding jobs was taking a veteran’s phone call at 08:30hrs. We’ll call him “Bill”. Bill had just been released by the police who had recognised him as a veteran. They had given our details to the lad when he was released from the Custody Suite. Bill was alone and homeless. So we introduced him to the Armed Forces Covenant supporting council where he wanted to live and the Veterans Gateway. At 1600 we got a call back and whilst Bill had been found housing he had no way of reaching it. Bill had nothing other than what he was standing up in and no money. None at all. We went to meet Bill, provided him with a “Mastato Beanies” duffle bag containing a couple of shirts, underwear, toothbrush and a large bag of Haribo. Then we took him to the station, bought him a rail ticket and saw Bill off to where he was met by his new landlord.
The thing that most touched me was the look on the lads face when he saw the Haribo. Bill had not eaten anything all day and these sweets were his breakfast and lunch rolled into one!
More generally we are engaged to mediate for clients with organisations, supporting them at court or just being there when they need a friend to talk too. All this is made easier for us by social media and mobile technology. But we have only just scratched the surface of the need. So where next? Well we’ll keep on helping those who need us – we are working with the police and SSAFA and we will support individuals tailoring our services to their needs.
We shall try to keep our mentor team busy helping others and simply try to “Do Good”
Written by Roger Nield of Vulnerable Veterans
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