Everton in the Community’s work in supporting veterans has been given a welcome funding boost from the Veterans’ Foundation for ex-military personnel aged 65 and above.
The Club’s official charity has been supporting veterans with the transition back into civilian life since 2011, engaging ex-service personnel with a range of sport, training and social activities as well as helping them find employment, avoiding anti-social behaviour and reducing their likelihood of ill-health. Recently shortlisted for the ‘Health and Wellbeing Award’ at the forthcoming English Veterans' Awards, Everton in the Community engages veterans aged 18+ from a broad range of experiences and military backgrounds.
The three-year funding received from the Veterans’ Foundation will enable the charity to develop its Aged Veterans Programme, providing an age specific social enrichment and activity project to help older veterans rekindle the unique aspects of military life that civilian life can often struggle to replicate. Research shows that when veterans get older, they can often become socially isolated which can lead to increased feelings of loneliness and poor mental health; Everton in the Community’s Aged Veterans Programme will provide a social support network to act as a protective measure against these issues.
By providing a culturally relevant and age-appropriate environment for veterans to build trusting friendships, the programme will encourage individuals to feel secure in reaching out in times of difficulty or acute stress and support each other, as well as providing bespoke support to veterans living with Dementia, providing a safe place for them to engage with the project too as well as providing a level of respite for their loved ones.
VETERAN TOM'S VE DAY EVERTON SURPRISE
The coronavirus pandemic has seen Everton in the Community support older veterans who have struggled to adapt with lockdown measures, leading to individuals becoming socially isolated and experiencing increasing feelings of frustration, low mood and poor mental health. The first year of the Aged Veterans' Programme will focus on helping older veterans overcome the implications of the pandemic and the impact this continues to have on their mental, physical and social health with the offering of health and wellbeing enrichment opportunities and support including weekly welfare calls, online coffee mornings, virtual physical activity sessions and an annual intergenerational social action projects.
And as a progression from the first year of the project, Everton in the Community will then look to provide opportunities for veterans to engage in targeted face-to-face delivery including social trips to places to historical/cultural significance, reminiscence workshops, regular Blue Bingo events and a musical therapy choir.
Everton in the Community Health and Wellbeing Manager, Johnnie Garside, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Veterans' Foundation, and we look forward to rolling out this new project to support isolated older veterans within Merseyside. This funding will enable us to build upon our existing work supporting those experiencing Alzheimer’s and dementia and expand it to ensure we can support even more older veterans who need us.
Veterans’ Foundation CEO David Shaw added: “The Veterans’ Foundation welcomes Everton in the Community’s initiatives to help veterans and we wish them success in the coming years."
Established in 1988, Everton in the Community delivers more than 40 programmes a year, specifically designed and developed to tackle social issues affecting the local community including mental health, employability, dementia, education, disability, poverty and homelessness. The charity’s programmes support people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds from over 130 venues across the city region and is open and inclusive to all.
The past three years has seen the Veterans’ Foundation provide grants to more than 250 charities and organisations. It is dedicated to distributing funding to where it is most effective and to date, £4 million has been given to projects that have a positive impact on British veterans, and their dependents, in need.
If you would like to become of a supporter of the Veterans’ Foundation you can do so by playing the national Veterans’ Lottery here.