Veterans in Bristol now have a one-stop shop where they can learn about available support and meet their contemporaries, after charities and the NHS collaborated to launch a monthly hub.

The launch of the hub – which took place last Thursday (28 July) at Bedminster Cricket Club – has been driven by the local team from Armed Forces charity Help for Heroes, in tandem with Op Courage, the veterans’ mental health service from the NHS, and Veterans UK, the Ministry of Defence’s dedicated support organisation for service personnel, veterans and their families.

In total, more than 10 organisations were represented at the launch, including Help for Heroes, Op Courage, Veterans UK, Royal British Legion, SSAFA (the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association), RFEA (the Forces Employment Charity), Department of Work and Pensions, the Poppy Factory, and Dudes & Dogs.

Help for Heroes’ Case Manager, Larry Holmes, said: “People who have left service in the last 10 years don’t class themselves as a veteran and don’t realise they are entitled to support.

“The veteran criterion is anybody who has been paid for one day in the Armed Forces, and covers all ages, regardless of whether they have been in a conflict zone. It’s important for younger veterans to realise this support is available to them and that’s what we have attempted to achieve with this hub.”

He added: “On the opening day we welcomed veterans from both ends of the age spectrum: a young man who left the service only last week and a RAF veteran in his 70s – both were appreciative of the information and support available to them. And we hope more veterans in the Bristol area will, now, come down and utilise the facility, even if it’s only to have a cuppa and a chinwag with like-minded individuals.”

Help for Heroes champions the Armed Forces community and helps them live well after service. The charity helps them, and their families, to recover and get on with their lives. It has already supported more than 26,500 people and won’t stop until every veteran gets the support they deserve.

n The hub meets on the final Thursday of the month (from 25 August) at Bedminster Cricket Club (BS3 2JX), from 10am to 1pm. Entry is free, appointments are not required, and refreshments are available.

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