Five Charities That Help Veterans In Need

Here in the UK we have great respect for our veterans…

…this is reflected by the huge range of charities that are supported throughout the country.

The vital work that these charities achieve, thanks to the hard work and determination of their employees and their patrons, cannot be underestimated. Leaving the military is a big moment for any soldier – it symbolises the end of their life as part of a squad and the beginning of their new life as a single unit. This transition from being part of a supportive team to operating solo can conjure up a series of mental challenges that, until recently, have not been properly recognised by the military. 

Thankfully, there are a number of UK-based charities that specialise in providing in-depth counselling and support for veterans who are struggling with making the transition, or are perhaps still dealing with psychological issues that have developed during their times in the service.

If you’re in need of counselling, know someone who does, or perhaps just need a friendly voice to talk to, check out one of the following charities to see how they can help:

Help for Heroes

Probably one of the most recognised armed forces charities in the UK, the money that Help for Heroes raises gets divided amongst a variety of causes, covering anything from Housing Support to Physical Therapy for injured troops. In order to qualify for help you need to have sustained an injury or illness during or as a result of your service in the forces. Recently, the charity has been focusing a lot more on mental health, helping soldiers suffering from PTSD to effectively combat their issues.

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PTSD Resolution

Whilst the government remains a little cagey in their treatment of Gulf War Syndrome and the debilitating effects of PTSD, there are a few charities that focus entirely on this issue. PTSD Resolution uses a nationwide network of 200 qualified therapists to provide treatment sessions to Veterans who suffer from mental health problems that are a result of military trauma. Their help reaches out to veterans who are struggling to cope with civilian life, as well as those with drug addictions or who are currently incarcerated.

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Veterans Aid

Founded in 1932 as The Embankment Fellowship Centre, Veterans Aid has been finding accommodation for homeless veterans since it’s inception. Initially set up to combat the huge number of ex-military men who were sleeping rough on the streets of London after the fallout of World War I; the charity has built up international recognition for it’s methods that seek to find immediate solutions rather than delayed ones. VA immediately house any veteran that seeks their help in temporary accommodation and then put a programme in place to find the veteran permanent residence and stability.

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SSAFA: The Armed Forces Charity

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association is the oldest national Armed Forces charity in the UK. Founded in 1885, the Charity has been helping soldiers and their families for well over 130 years. During World War I, the SSAFA paid out more than £1m to the families of soldiers and commanded it’s own army of 50,000 voluntary workers who were committed to helping out their fellow Brits. Flash forward to today; thanks to high-profile patrons like the Queen and the work of its president Prince Michael of Kent, SSAFA has successfully helped thousands of veterans’ and serving soldiers’ families – providing housing advice, debt advice and help with mental illnesses.

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Making The Transition: Who Can Help?

When Military life ends a new chapter of a serviceman’s life begins.

It’s important to take time to plan your transition out of Service life, back into the world of the civilians.

You should not only consider your personal health, but also your psychological state and your relationships with your friends and family. For those that have been in the Armed Forces for a particularly long stint, there might be a whole slew of practical skills that need to be learnt so that one can continue their life with stability and independence. Health issues, both long term and short term, should be checked up on and assessed, so that you can ensure that you’re in the best shape possible when entering your new life.

Practical things such as housekeeping, basic accountancy and childcare aren’t necessarily skills that Veterans develop during their time in Service, so it’s important to find some help in these matters if you want to make a smooth transition from military life to civilian life.

Thankfully, Personal Recovery Centres exists that can help you make this transition smoothly, ensuring that you’re never alone during what can be a challenging period in your life.

As part of a government led initiative, the Ministry of Defence working with Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion, have been working to develop and build a number of Personal Recovery Centres across the country with the aim of giving access to important services and resources for wounded, injured or sick personnel. Working in conjunction; both the charities and the MoD formulate individual care plans which give the recovering troop structure whilst they get used to civilian life.

For these troops, questions like: ‘How much does a CT scan cost?‘ and ‘How do I receive my military pension?’ can be easily answered by a team of well trained staff who work at centres in Edinburgh, Colchester, Tidworth House, Catterick and even Germany.

One centre that has gained particular public recognition is the Battle Back Centre in Lilleshall.

Established at the National Sports’ Centre, this programme is tailored to ex-servicemen who have been wounded or injured and are in need of support. The programme offers residential housing for up to 24 servicemen and gives them the opportunity to take part in adaptive sports and adventure activities which are aimed at rejuvenating the participants and instilling them with the confidence that they need to either re-enter service or transition into civilian life smoothly.

Establishments like the Battle Back Centre are crucial to giving the Veteran a chance to re-build self-esteem, but they provide more than just a confidence boost for injured soldiers, they also give the MoD an opportunity to assess the individual’s psychological state, as well as their life skills, so that they can be appropriately trained for life as a civilian. Practical projects and training is also provided for ex-troops, so that they can re-enter the working the world with the skills necessary to succeed.

If you think you could benefit from support from a Personal Recovery Centre then head to this site to find out more:

Upcoming Events: September-October

We’ve got a busy couple of months coming up!

If you’re a Gulf Veteran who’s looking to get involved in an outdoor activity, or a friend of a veteran who would like to raise some money for a worthy cause, then there are a number of great events being organised by big and small charities in the run up to this year’s Remembrance Day that you can take part in.

From international athletics competitions to uplifting concerts in the capital, there’s some great opportunities on the horizon – so get involved!

Invictus Games 2017

In 2014, Prince Harry created the Paralympic-style event in order to give wounded or injured armed service personnel the chance to compete at an international level. The first games were held in London at the Olympic Park, with the second games following in 2016, this time in Florida, USA. After another successful event, which saw 16 teams from different countries compete in a number of events, the next games were announced to be held in Toronto.

When? 24 September-30 September 2017 Where? Toronto

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Driffield Dog Show

Although it might seem like half a world away from the games in Toronto, support for our veterans comes in all shapes and sizes! For the second year, the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association will be attending the Driffield Dog Show. The clue’s in the name, the Wetherby Racecourse & Conference Centre, which is equidistant between York and Harrogate, will be home to hundreds of dogs and their owners, all of whom will be hoping to pick up awards for their efforts. Make sure to stop by at the NGVFA’s stand to say ‘Hello’ and see how you can help out – entrance is free!

When? 28 September-1 October 2017 Where? Wetherby Racecourse, Wetherby

London Pride Concert

Thanks to the resounding success of last year’s London Pride, the Central Band of the Royal British Legion are back once more to wow another packed out audience – will you be one of them? Southwark Cathedral will once more be the venue, with musical director David Cole leading the Central Band through an evening’s programme of London-themed music, which is sure to create a truly uplifting ambience in such a grand historical setting. Tickets start as cheap as £10 with central nave seats costing £30.

When? 14 October 2017 Where? Southwark Cathedral, London

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The Poppy Run

It’s never too late to start to take part in one of the 5km races that will be taking place all across the country throughout October and November this year. Take your friends, family and even your dog along for the ride. It’s up to you whether you decide to run, jog or walk, either way you’ll be raising money for a good cause. Entry fees, payable to the Royal British Legion, are £15 for an adult and £7.50 for 7-17 year olds – anyone younger can run for free! Whilst there is no minimum fundraising target, every penny that you raise will go to helping the armed forces community, including Gulf Veterans.

When? 28 October-5 November 2017 Where? Nationwide

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