Everton in the Community’s veterans provision is expanding its reach once more thanks to a welcome funding boost from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund.
Awarded through the Covenant’s Positive Pathways programme, the funding supports veteran-focused projects that alleviate mental health issues and help ex-service personnel improve their own personal wellbeing.
Everton Veterans’ Hub (EVH) has been supporting veterans with the transition back into civilian life since 2011, and now engages with more than 300 people every year.
Recently, the project received funding from the Veterans’ Foundation to develop its provision for those aged 65 and over, while the latest funding boost from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund will allow the charity to roll out a new project, 'Royal Blues', that will support veterans between 40 and 65 years of age.
'Royal Blues' will provide a needs-led support service for middle-aged veterans in the Merseyside region who are isolated, at risk and vulnerable, with a view to improving their physical, mental and social health, as well as their overall quality of life through a holistic engagement support service.
The programme has a trialled and tested model for successfully supporting veterans through evidence-based behavioural change interventions and providing a range of social contact and enrichment activities, as well as opportunities for veterans to engage in a bespoke training and education package.
The charity has a proven track record in supporting ex-service personnel through an array of sporting examples, training, social activities, and other support measures, as well as supporting participants in finding employment, avoiding anti-social behaviour and reducing their likelihood of ill-health. 'Royal Blues' specifically targets middle-aged veterans to help combat the rising suicide rate in men between the ages of 35 and 54 years of age*.
The launch of Everton Veterans’ Hub’s latest programme follows its double nomination at the English Veterans’ Awards, where the charity is shortlisted in the Health and Wellbeing category. Project Manager Dave Curtis (top picture) is also in the running for the 'Inspiration of the Year Award’, with the ceremony taking place in the spring.
Highlighting the continued progress and expansion of EVH, Health and Wellbeing Manager, Johnnie Garside said: “This funding represents a significant step forward in the charity’s efforts to support the Merseyside veteran population. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Armed Forces Covenant Fund and local delivery partners to ensure middle-aged veterans have appropriate support services in place to reconnect with likeminded veterans and thrive.”
Sonia Howe, Director of Policy and Communications for the Trust, said: “We're delighted that the Positive Pathways funding is supporting veterans' mental health and wellbeing in different ways. Sports projects, such as Everton in the Community's ‘Royal Blues' veterans' project, are a great way to achieve this."
The delivery will follow the latest Government and NHS guidelines in light of the pandemic, with provision led online during lockdown measures, while comprehensive and robust health and safety protocol will be adhered to prior to any face-to-face delivery undertaken.
*Statistics taken from the Office for National Statistics.