A project which aims to reduce social isolation among armed forces veterans in Cheshire East has been given funding by Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner.
David Keane awarded a grant from his Safer Communities Fund to support a breakfast club in Crewe where ex-service personnel can meet and share their experiences each fortnight.
‘Next Steps for Vets’ aims to relieve isolation for veterans, helping them adjust back into everyday life and, in some circumstances, reduce the likelihood of armed forces personnel falling into the criminal justice system.
Run by Cheshire East Council in partnership with the Royal British Legion, the club offers friendship, support and signposting to local and national services as well as coaching into employment or volunteering.
It is currently supporting 13 local veterans between the ages of 29 to 92 from its base at the Bru Cafe on Lyceum Square.
The PCC visited the breakfast club to see for himself how the project is helping support ex-service personnel across Cheshire East.
David said: “It was great to see firsthand how many veterans are being supported by this project.
“My Safer Communities Fund provides support to local residents and community groups that protect vulnerable people and work to prevent crime and anti-sociable behaviour.
“With 41 per cent [according to a YouGov poll conducted in September 2017] of British armed forces veterans saying they have felt lonely or isolated at some point since leaving the military, I’m supporting the breakfast club to provide some of the most vulnerable people in our society with a place where they can get together, meet likeminded people and share their experiences.”
The funding from the commissioner has enabled the group to secure a place to meet on a regular basis.
Cllr Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for adult social care and integration, said: “I would like to say a big thank you to the police and crime commissioner for making grants available to vital community projects such as the veteran’s breakfast club in Crewe.
“The club’s membership has steadily grown over the years, providing a place where people can share their experiences of military service and get support when they need it now and in the future.”
Cllr Clowes added: “Cheshire East Council is proud of all its residents who have served and continue to serve our country.”
The breakfast club is one of 17 projects across Cheshire which received funding from the PCC in 2017-18.
To find out more about the Safer Communities Fund, please visit www.cheshire-pcc.gov.uk/what-im-doing/safer-communities-fund/