22/11/2014

Christmas Rescued For Veterans In-Need

 

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has ensured 31 ex-Servicemen and women will enjoy a Christmas Day lunch after a plea was launched for donations for a turkey, vegetables and all the trimmings.

The veterans are all current or former residents of The Beacon - Riverside’s flagship supported housing scheme that supports ex-Forces personnel who require assistance in their transition into permanent housing.

SSAFA’s In-Service Committee, Catterick Garrison, stepped in after hearing The Beacon wanted to provide meals and gifts over the Christmas period, providing £10 vouchers for each veteran.

SSAFA donated a further £5,000 to provide an on-going fund to improve quality of life. This will help pay for services not provided by mainstream funding to help make life better for the veterans in 2015.

Over 40 percent of veterans in Riverside’s specialist centres have mental health problems including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, with a total of 26 percent discharged from the Armed Forces on medical grounds.

Amanda Padgett, Chair of the SSAFA In-Service Committee, Catterick Garrison, said:

“We felt passionately that the veterans deserved a proper Christmas, hence the £10 food vouchers but, more than that, we wanted to offer long-term support in 2015. The £5,000 fund will help with the small things that improve quality of life for the residents.  Some of the former soldiers are really young men and women who hope to be able to return to Service life. The members of the In-Service Committee for Catterick Garrison were very keen to support such an excellent facility in the heart of the Garrison. ”

Riverside – a leading housing association – began its specialist support for veterans in 2000 when it set up a ground-breaking partnership with the Ministry of Defence to provide housing advice and support to the small proportion of veterans who struggle to make the transition back into civilian life when they leave the Armed Forces.

Each year Riverside supports around 1,200 veterans with their housing needs including veterans in specialist temporary housing and enterprise centres set up and run by staff, some of whom come from an Armed Forces background.

Amanda Padgett presented the cheque to Riverside’s MoD Area Manager of The Beacon, Trevor Morris.  Also present was Colonel Stephen Padgett OBE, Commander Catterick Garrison, and SSAFA’s In-Service Committee Treasurer, Sergeant Sarah Chapman.

Trevor Morris, a veteran with over 22 years’ service, said:

“We are delighted that SSAFA has ensured that Christmas and beyond will be extra special this year for our veterans. It’s a particularly tough time of year for them as Christmas throws up so many emotions around home and family, so it’s really important that we make the extra effort to look after our veterans throughout the festive season.”

 

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