Veterans to provide support and advice to ex-military personnel

York Press: Jason Meek from Lifeline, right, with, from left, Nick Sinclair, City of York Council, Chris Simpson, a veteran soldier, Grace Helliwell, from the council, and Staff Sgt Stephanie Eltringham of the Army Welfare Service Jason Meek from Lifeline, right, with, from left, Nick Sinclair, City of York Council, Chris Simpson, a veteran soldier, Grace Helliwell, from the council, and Staff Sgt Stephanie Eltringham of the Army Welfare Service

VETERANS who have returned to Civvy Street after serving their country are to help former colleagues make the same journey.

The new group will allow those leaving the armed forces to talk to others who have left to share their experiences of life out of uniform in the York area.

It is hoped that friendships forged on the front line will be continued and the camaraderie of service life kept alive by the weekly meetings.

There has been growing concern that those leaving the tight-knit family of the military can often feel isolated and find it hard to adjust to life outside the forces.

Now City of York Council is teaming up with a number of partners to create a Military Veterans and Service Leavers Peer Support Group.

A guiding light of the idea is Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, the council's Director of Health and Wellbeing, who was also in the Army for 23 years.

The founder, Jason Meek, is also ex-Army. He said: "When I left I would have found a group like this invaluable.

"The group can offer support and advice in a language that other ex-military personnel understand while enjoying a coffee and sharing experiences."

The sessions are to be held every Wednesday from 5.30pm to 7pm in Sycamore House.

As well as swapping stories, the group will also enable those who had already adjusted to civilian life to offer practical advice.

It will include getting the right healthcare, housing, and financial support that many veterans are seeking.

There may also be things which their families and dependants are entitled to which they are missing out on.

The council is working with the Army Welfare Service, Royal British Legion, York St John University, MoD and Combat Stress.

Dr Edmondson-Jones said: "It is great to see a variety of organisations working together to provide this support in York."

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