Ex-servicemen and women need our support – and so do their families

Julia Shipston Julia Shipston

The national volunteering charity TimeBank has set up a new West Midlands project to support the families of ex-servicemen and women and reservists who are struggling to adjust to life after the military. Its new Shoulder to Shoulder Families project has been funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation and the Royal British Legion, the nation’s leading Armed Forces charity.

TimeBank says veterans’ families face unique challenges in understanding and dealing with the issues their sons, daughters and partners are going through. They may also have been located in a variety of towns and countries so find it hard to settle into a new community.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of TimeBank says: “Many veterans are in a state of crisis in their lives, with complex problems including financial hardship, homelessness, alcohol dependency and health issues including depression, anxiety and panic attacks. TimeBank’s Shoulder to Shoulder projects in London and Birmingham have shown that volunteer mentoring is a powerful tool to support veterans and their families.”

One-to-one support on a regular basis can make a big difference to people’s lives, creating space to chat things through and identify goals. The charity also holds a monthly Drop-in in Birmingham to provide friendship and practical advice.

TimeBank would like to hear from veterans’ families in the West Midlands who would like to receive support, and from male and female volunteers who can spare around five hours a month to mentor them.

No special skills are needed – just time, patience and understanding of the issues these families may be facing. TimeBank offers full training and support.

Daniel Elser, Head of Grants for The Royal British Legion, said: “We are proud to work with TimeBank on its new Shoulder to Shoulder Families project, which will make a real, long-lasting, difference to families in the West Midlands area.”

If you’d like to know more, take a look at www.timebank.org.uk/shoulder-to-shoulder-families or phone 0121 236 2531.


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