Posted: Mon 9th May 2022

Mental Health Awareness Week: Armed Forces charity recruiting ‘buddies’ in Wales to support veterans

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, May 9th, 2022

As Mental Health Awareness Week gets underway, Armed Forces charity Help for Heroes is looking to recruit military veterans to support their comrades in a ‘Buddy’ scheme designed to help combat isolation and loneliness. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The scheme is being driven by the Charity’s loneliness and isolation project manager, Sarah Hattle, and will cover the whole of Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

She explained: “The purpose of the Buddy scheme is to connect socially isolated and/or lonely beneficiary veterans with a volunteer veteran who has fully transitioned and is a member of their local community.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The Buddy will provide companionship and emotional support while helping the beneficiary become involved with their local or wider communities.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

While the scheme is open only to Help for Heroes beneficiaries who want support, the voluntary role of Buddy is open to anybody in Wales who has been in the UK Armed Forces. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In 2020, 12,299 personnel left the UK Armed Forces, and the vast majority made their transition to civilian life effectively. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

This scheme is about utilising some of the amazing talent from this vast majority, to help the very small minority who are struggling to integrate into the communities where they now live. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Help for Heroes’ data has shown that 67 per cent of its beneficiaries find making meaningful connections in the community a daily challenge, while the figure rises to 77 per cent for those living alone. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

And it is these people Hattle aims to help with the new Buddy scheme. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

She added: “We are looking for previous members of the UK Armed Forces to volunteer as Buddies. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They will receive comprehensive training, and, on completion of the training, we will look to match them with a beneficiary. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Anybody interested in volunteering as a Buddy can either get in touch with me directly, at Sarah.Hattle@helpforheroes.org.uk if they have any questions, or visit the Help for Heroes website, from the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mental Health Awareness Week – created by the Mental Health Foundation, 21 years ago – is an annual event providing an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Each year the Foundation continues to set the theme, organise, and host the week, and the event has grown to become one of the biggest awareness campaigns across the world. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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