Praise for South Tyneside's help for Armed Forces veterans

South Tyneside has been praised by veterans for its support of the Armed Forces.

Monday, 24th June 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 24th June 2019, 5:50 pm
Councillor Ed Malcolm (left) with ex-soldier Joe Mills at a NAAFI Break.

South Tyneside Council helps current and ex-service personnel through its Navy, Army, Airforce and Families Institute (NAAFI) Break. The face-to-face drop-in service is run by veterans and offers a place to meet, socialise and recieve advice on civilian life.

The NAAFI Break is held twice monthly at Trinity House in South Shields. South Tyneside Council pays for the venue.

The council, through its Community Covenant Pledge, supports members of the Services by ensuring they aren’t disadvantaged when accessing employment, housing and education.

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An Armed Forces Forum has been established to help former personnel get support from the Ministry of Defence, statutory providers, charities and the voluntary sector.

Volunteer and ex-soldier Joe Mills said: “Many reservists and veterans suffer with the unfamiliarity of civilian life, often many years after leaving the service.

“Some find it extremely difficult to enter out into the community, feel unable to socialise and more importantly, are unaware of how to deal with day to day matters.

“As a veteran member of the Armed Forces, there is a great sense of belonging to the largest family in the land.

“NAAFI Break allows veterans the opportunity to be back in that environment and triggers a feeling of belonging again.”

Joe’s commitment to NAAFI Break stems from his own experiences. He initially joined a veteran’s branch of the Royal Irish Rangers in the Gaza Barracks.

He later met up with colleagues of the Royal Irish Rangers and formed a second group in Catterick in 2006 which is still going today.

Coun Ed Malcolm, chair of the Armed Forces Forum, said: “We recognise the sacrifices made by our service men and women and are committed to helping them with the pressures they can face in adapting back to civilian life.

“The NAAFI Break is a core element of our approach providing a community base for Armed Forces personnel.”