Author Archive:editor

Veterans Contact Point at the Arley Festival of Flight 2021

On Saturday 4th September the Veterans Contact Point attended a large important community event in the local area.

It was for our own fun, enjoyment and to relax, but Veterans Support, Veterans Awareness and communication within the Community was the underlying reason.  Informing our Veterans, families and the communities about the fabulous work being carried out in the area by our Armed Forces Covenant Partnership.

The Spitfire fly past was absolutely awesome but even such a spectacular bird was overshadowed by the event and the pure community spirit witnessed on the ground.

Many thanks to the organisers, volunteers and hosts for a wonderful day.

#veteranscontactpoint #warwickshireveterans #VeteransCommunity #localcommunities

Veterans Places, Pathways & Peoples Programme – 3rd Webinar/Consultation Event

The Veterans Contact Point is holding its next open Webinar/Consultation Event on Monday 2nd August 2021 starting at 14:00. Join us by copying this Teams link to your browser bar:

https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_MmY3ZTE0NDUtZWMzNi00YTBlLWJhNGItNGRkMjQyM2VlMmE3%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%223a90bb57-bd74-443d-8b9b-d7af08232670%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%226cb63e18-898b-436c-a52f-97ebb0ec750a%22%7d

This event is aimed at discussions and sharing of  ideas with organisations/charities from across the Midlands Area who want to work with veterans on the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust – Veterans Places, Pathways & Peoples Programme in the Midlands Area.

 

 

Veterans Sleep Retreat – Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th August

The VCP in Partnership with Forward Assist Charity https://www.forward-assist.com are pleased to offer a FREE 2 day none residential Sleep Retreat facilitated by Charley Morley at the Veterans Contact Point in Nuneaton. This course is also funded by The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

We will not only provide you with access to this fantastic skilled and successful practitioner but we will also provide food and refreshments over the two days. Unfortunately the only catch is you HAVE TO BE A VETERAN or CURRENT SERVING MEMBER (Someone who has served 1 day or more in any of HM Armed Forces as a Regular or as a Reservist) or be the wife/spouse/partner of someone who has served or is still serving.

Places are still available but are being snapped up quickly – we will ensure a COVID safe delivery throughout the whole weekend, as such we may insist the wearing of facemasks when moving around the building. Please ring us 02476343793 or email on the email address shown in the poster(s)

Please bring a pillow !

VCP Submits Expression of Interest as Lead for Midlands – Veterans Places, Pathways & People Programme

The Veterans Contact Point has been pleased to submit its Expression of Interest to be the Midlands Lead for the Veterans Places, Pathways and Peoples – Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust Programme. We are keen to work with partners from across the Midlands region and we are looking for forward facing organisations who can support and sustain engagement with Veterans by innovative interventions as part of this programme.

We plan to hold two initial consultation/briefing events on Monday 19th July and Thursday 22nd July. The first event attracted a great deal of interest and support from Partner organisations already known to us and we look forward to similar interest and support from other potential interested parties from across the Midlands Region to the next event.

Contact details to register for the webinar/face to face meeting have been published on the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust Programme notification page, but if in doubt ring 02476343793 or email support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk to register your interest to work to support veterans in the Midlands Region in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the Programme.

More details will be shared in regards to the next steps in planning/agreeing project delivery. Following the next webinar on 22nd July we will be working up our application supported by Key Partners,  throughout July/August/early September for submission by the agreed date 27th September.

Interested in being part if this excellent 2 year opportunity which will have a positive impact on Veterans lives and mental and physical well being? Please ring or email to discuss.

Ed our Volunteer Peer Support Worker Providing VCP Outreach Interventions in Southern Warwickshire

Ed a RRF Veteran has been instrumental in ensuring fellow Veterans and their Families are not forgotten during the impacts of COVID19 & National Lockdown.

Like the VCP Hub, Ed has been “out there” doing the right thing for those in need in the Stratford Upon Avon/Warwick and LSPA areas. As a Volunteer Ed also runs a Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Club, but had to suspend this due to the current restrictions. This allowed Ed to focus on providing outreach welfare and buddy calls to Veterans known to him and the VCP ensuring that they were included in support.

Working mainly from his home or boot of his car, Ed accompanied by his Wife and Children put together food parcels, NAFFI Break Packs some of which were donated by Morrisons in Leamington & Stratford.

Working with lead Armed Forces Covenant Partners in delivering effective interventions such as that provided by Ed, the VCP hopes to secure a base in the South of Warwickshire to help Ed with a place to operate from and for a meeting point to bring together other veterans for a “brew and a chat/banter” once COVID is under control and restrictions are lifted and group contact allowable.

Pictured in the main image is Ed with the Morrisons (SOA) Community Lead and Cllr Wallace Redford – WCC AFC Lead.

Once we have information about a Southern Hub we will share across our social media and through direct contact with veterans and families known to us.

The VCP is extremely proud of the work being done by Ed and applaud his dedication and motivation to his fellow veterans/families and recognise again the power and commitment of veterans in supporting others. The VCP is reliant on Veterans like Ed and he compliments the other Veterans who provide this service across our other areas. We are always open for fresh volunteers, partnerships and projects – contact details: email contactus@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk or telephone 02476343793 to learn more.

CENSUS 2021 – The Armed Forces Question

The playlist includes:

  • What’s the definition of veteran/ex-Armed Forces being used in the Census?
  • What is the veteran/ex-Armed Forces question in the Census?
  • Why it is safe for you to identify as a veteran/ex-Armed Forces question in the Census
  • How to take part in the Census
  • Help is available 
  • Veterans in the Nepalese community

If you just want to link to one video just click on that video and take the link from that specific video.  The playlist is set up to run from one video to the other, but each video can be used independently.

Christmas Message – VCP Executive Officer

Dear Trustees, Staff and Volunteers,

This year has been like no other, COVID19  pandemic put our lives on hold, threatened our health, brought our social lives to a virtual standstill but despite this we continued to be there for our fellow Armed Forces Community in particular those veterans in need. At the same time, this year has also taught us just how strong and resilient we are both as humans, as a Charity and the role we play in our local Armed Forces Covenant Partnership.

With the help of our small but dedicated team of staff and volunteers, we continued to provide compassion, empathy, and creativity in the way we supported those in need. I can confidently say that we all rose to the challenge, we gave some of our personal freedom to keep others safe and we cared more than ever about one another.

Since our fresh new beginning, the reopening of the VCP late 2019 following the fantastic refurbishment done by Balfour Beatty, we have well and truly been recognised by our local community and wider afield. We hosted Lord Dannatt and HRH Prince Charles at the VCP, with many other community dignitaries and representatives from across the Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire. We have successfully developed new interventions such as the popular Brew & Banter and more recently chef Nick’s Breakfast clubs. Being innovative in the way we deliver against our funded projects has allowed us to show just what a forward facing, open and intelligent Armed Forces Charity we are. Who would have imagined that we would be confident enough to go on-line into the virtual world to ensure that “Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten”.

Community and personal relationships have never been more valuable, we have discovered newfound gratitude for our own health and the health of the people around us and at the VCP have adapted to the routines of cleaning, sanitising, hand washing and distancing to ensure we are operating safely allowing our veterans to feel safe in our environment. Tam and his dedication to supporting his Atherstone Hub and in developing the VCP Nuneaton Hub reminded us all of how precious the small things in life are, things that we perhaps previously took for granted.

Recently we sadly lost one of our team, Lyn Kelley who sadly passed away. Lyn had been a member of our team for many years and had shown dedication and support to the VCP touching the soles of many other veterans through ensuring “ we remained open” no matter what weather or situation. I recall Lyn even making brews for the first Balfour Beatty staff who came on site shortly after our closure for the refurbishment. I know that you will join me in sending her family our warm wishes for a peaceful Christmas and that for those who can, we will raise a class in her memory.

As this year is coming to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting the Veterans Contact Point, through our Board of Trustee’s providing its Governance and from the team of staff and volunteers who continue to show dedication and innovation in adapting our services to “fit” the needs of veterans and meeting COVID requirements during this difficult period. It means a lot to me.

For the year ahead, I hope that we can go back to socialising, travelling, and exploring. I also hope that we can return to our in-person events and networking. I know you have missed those as much as we have, and we cannot wait to see you again soon.

I am currently working on completion of the final few  project reports and encourage you to share your photos, experiences, and your unique perspective of our approaches and delivery of services to our Armed Forces Community. We end this year with master chef Nick and the Team providing a home cooked 3 course Christmas Lunch to 20 veterans this coming Monday, fresh cooked Turkey and all the trimmings. Then finally before we break up for a well deserved rest, we will train another 5 veterans in Peer Support techniques so that hopefully when the time is right, they too will be able to come on board to provide support as they have been provided by their peers

I encourage you all to continue to contribute thoughts and ideas on what the VCP could do during the coming New Year, the programme is not written and remains flexible to your suggestions, so please share.

But first, let us enjoy the Christmas and New Year with our family and friends, let’s not forget our fellow Armed Forces Personnel who are away from their families on operations or duty during this period, some of us have been in a similar position during our own military careers. We hope that the impact of your work and that our of Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire Armed Forces Covenant Partners have made, will ensure that Veterans are remembered during the Christmas period.

Stay safe and well, thank you all sincerely for all you have done and continue to do. Have a very happy Christmas and New Year.

VCP Ensures that Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten – Especially at Christmas

The impact on COVID19 has been devastating on people in the community, with various Lockdowns, Firebreaks, Tiers and so forth. Generally Veterans across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire have proved to be resilient and have coped, but some still struggle with isolation, loneliness impacting on their physical and mental well-being.

As Veterans ourselves we appreciate how important it is to “be home” at Christmas, our own military life often meant that we could be away at this time of year. However no matter where in the world we where, what ever corner of a field or desert we may find ourselves, we always tried to celebrate Christmas. A tradition exists where Officers and SNCO’s served Christmas Dinner to the enlisted men as a show of thanks from their own service and loyalty to whom they in turn served.

The VCP is extremely proud to provide a little festive cheer to our veterans as a way of giving back and ensuring that we maintain a tradition that our former servicemen and women did before us.

On the 21st December at the VCP in Nuneaton, we will be providing a 3 course cooked Christmas Lunch, cooked by Nick Caswell our Chef, assisted by Dawn his Wife, Tam, Jock and John our Peer Support workers/servers/dish washers, to needy veterans from across CSW AFC Area. Food has been donated by Morrisons (LSPA & SOA) and by food donated through Warwickshire County Council, topped up by a small donation from the VCP coffers. NBBC have kindly offered to help with taxi’s (Tier3 allowing) to transport veterans to/from lunch.

Please see the poster for full details, be mindful that we are limiting sittings to a maximum of 6 veterans per sitting. You may also be required to wear a facemask when not eating and ALL dinners will be required to follow strict COVID guidance/precautions at all times.

We require you to ring and book a place for dinner, you may be asked why you need to come – this is to ensure those in priority need get a place first. You will be informed what time your sitting is and when to be at and leave the VCP by.

On behalf of the Board of Trustee’s, Staff, Volunteers, Veterans and many Supporters – thank you for ensuring that the VCP can support and be there for Veterans and their Families from across the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Area, We wish you all a safe and Happy Christmas, no matter where you may be in the world.

A Tribute to Lyn Kelley – Our Veterans Are Not Forgotten.

A Tribute to Lyn Kelley – Lyn first made contact with the VCP way back in 2011 in her role as an RBL Volunteer Welfare Caseworker , when we were operating out of NBBC Town Hall in Nuneaton. She “jumped ship” and became a volunteer with the VCP in 2012 and stayed with us, helping us in our work to become a registered charity and effective organisation in supporting the needs of our local Armed Forces Community.

Lyn showed total dedication in her efforts to ensure that Veterans and their Families who were in need received the best support that their time in the UK Armed Forces made them eligible to access. This also included her individual efforts to ensure that the VCP was open to receive “drop in’s” from Veterans, providing them a brew/wet and welcoming them to the charity. We have seen Lyn battling all weathers to ensure the door is open and the kettle is on.

During the close down of the VCP to allow the refurbishment to take place, she even ensured that the initial Balfour Beatty Workforce had a hot brew and were given access to the building.

Lyn was a veteran herself, she proudly served in the RAF and later in the Army as a Reservist, two of her sons also followed her into Military Service. Above all Lyn was a Mother and Grandmother and loved her family with passion.

Lyn gave so much, so freely and ensured as far as she could that all Veterans were given support and access to other opportunities. She received no monetary payment for her efforts, but received payback in knowing that she was doing the right thing for others. Over 7,000 people have seen the post informing our Community of her sad passing – a tribute to Lyn that she has touched so many people through her dedicated work with the VCP a passion, a pride and her life work.

We continue to be there for her and her family and to remember her as a fellow Veteran, a Friend, a Mother and Grandmother and a local person who gave so much to others.

Lyn you will be missed by so many people, but we know that through your efforts, that the service they receive has been positively impacted by your own efforts and commitment.

The photos shown have been taken from her own Facebook page, those who knew Lyn appreciate that she didn’t like her photo taken and would hide when ever a camera was on site. These photos were obliviously precious to her and thank you Alex for allowing us to use them RIP Lyn

Support for HM Armed Forces Veterans COVID19 Lockdown 5th Nov – 3 Dec 2020

Veterans Contact Point – Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten

The Veterans Contact Point operating during the current COVID19 lockdown. We are conscious that former members of HM Armed Forces (Veterans) and their families struggle with isolation and loneliness. This increases for those with Mental Health issues, Combat PTSD and physical disabilities. Veterans volunteering at the Veterans Contact Point have themselves experienced the impact caused through the previous lockdown and are keen to ensure that “Veterans should not be forgotten” during this current phase of mandatory lockdown.

Advice and guidance has been sought with local authority and consultation with the UK Government restrictions/rules and the Veterans Contact Point delivers an “exempt essential support activity” as stated under Section 4 of www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november

“Some venues will be allowed to remain open for specific exempt activities, like childcare and support groups. Support groups that are essential to deliver in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people with long-term illnesses, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.”

So, what are we providing? During the first phase of Lockdown we found that out weekly “Veteran Buddy Calls” were successful in ensuring veterans that the VCP and its Veterans cared about their mental and physical health. The response from those contacted was appreciated with many welcoming the chance to speak to another veteran and exchange “banter” etc.

  • Weekly Veteran Buddy Telephone Calls will continue. If you want us to call you please email: support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk or telephone 02476343793. We will need to collect your contact details and permission to call you. All information shared will be protected and is limited for this purpose only.
  • Telephone/Email Contact.  You do not need to wait for us to make contact with you, the above email and telephone number will be staffed between 10:00 to 16:00. We work in partnership with other Partners from the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Armed Forces Community, this includes Councils, Military Charities, NHS Veterans Mental Health and many others. Please remember we are not an emergency service – if you feel you are in immediate need please ring 999 or 111

Should we need to refer you for additional support outside that which is available from the VCP itself we will seek your permission to refer and pass on your details

  • On-line/Virtual Information Sharing.  We will start a repeat of the successful “Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten” On-line information portal. This will begin Monday 9th November with “What’s On” details posted on our Facebook/Website etc. All you need is a laptop/PC/Tablet/Phone and the Internet an email address and to have made contact with the team on 024763434793 or support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk to get the link. Initial topics will include Veterans Case Studies/Stories, Information Sharing from the across the Armed Forces Covenant Area, Armchair Fitness/Keeping Fit and help with Employment/Employability.

Welfare Support was also appreciated during the initial COVID19 lockdown, many veterans contact were in need of welfare support, having been unable to work or even struggling to pay for essential items such as food, heat etc. We provided “NAFFI Break and Main Meal Boxes” which were delivered to veterans who needed this support, many were struggling but were not asking for support or were aware that help could be provided. We work with the Food Banks across our area and other Charities to ensure that “Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten”, and have complimented their provision with our own, and/or ensured that Veterans are identified and supported.;

  • NAFFI Break/Main Meal/Food Vouchers will be made available to Veterans during this phase of Lockdown. Please do not leave it until crisis point to ask for help, ring or email the VCP Team on support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk or ring 02476343793
  • Welfare Support – working with others we will provide welfare support to Veterans and their families to ensure that welfare support is being delivered to those struggling and in need. Don’t be too proud to ask for help and don’t leave it to crisis to get help.
  • Brew & Banter/Hot Meal – We intend to continue our current service of bringing small groups of veterans who are struggling with mental or physical health, loneliness, in need of mutual/Peer Support, therapy and other forms of essential support. This will be trialled on Wednesday 12th November only at the VCP’s main base in Nuneaton starting at 11:00 (max of 6 at any one time).   We will ensure compliance with all Government Guidance/Regulation which will include social distancing, face coverings and hand washing. Please ring 02476343793 or email support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk to ask to be included in a session, sessions will normally last an hour.

Breakfast/Hot Meal – Subject to risk assessment, approval and demand we intend to provide a limited “Squaddie cooked” hot meal for those veterans who are struggling. We are planning a Free Veterans Breakfast (for those in need) on Saturday 14th November at the VCP starting at 10:00 – ending 12:00 (Max of 6 people at each sitting).

Please ring/email us on 02476343793  support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk to confirm a place. If you have not booked? You will be turned away.

You will be expected to follow our admittance criteria and to follow our COVID19 procedures to protect our staff and yourself.

We will remain flexible and monitor the developing situation and may adjust the service we provide to remove face to face support, if we are instructed too,  or if we feel that people are not following advice and guideline and increasing risk to each other/others.

Please do continue to check our website and Facebook and other Media or ring/email 02476343793 support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk before you travel.