Representatives from over 30 voluntary and community groups learnt more about the needs of veterans in Southend at an event organised by local charity, SAVS.
Speakers from the Royal British legion and Veterans First talked about the issues faced by people leaving the armed forces, such as housing, mental ill health, adjusting to life in civvy street and the complex rules about the benefits they are entitled to.
Alison Semmence, Chief Exec of SAVS explained that there are many veterans living in Southend and the voluntary sector needs to understand their needs and make sure veterans know about the vast amount of support on offer from Southend’s voluntary sector.
Veteran Stuart Meyrick who now works for Southend Mind talked about the challenges he faced adapting to life after the army and coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“When I left the army I was suffering with PTSD but it took years for this to be diagnosed by my GP. It was finally recognised in 2010 and since then I have been receiving treatment from Southend Mind who have really helped me cope with it,” says Stuart.
The attendees found the day very informative and learnt a lot about how we can support veterans.
“An incredibly powerful and moving speech made by the ex-serviceman regarding his experience of how PTSD affected his life and family,” says Ann Davenport from South East Essex Advocacy for Older People.
A new initiative that has arisen from the event is a Social Group which will be run by the Royal British Legion in SAVS café on the second Tuesday of every month. Any ex service personnel are welcome to come along from 10 – 1 to meet other veterans. The first session will run next Thursday 10th April. For further information please call Simon Ferrier at the British Legion on 07795 603813