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Council to consider new fund to help veterans and cadets

An annual fund of £15,000 a year could be set up by Mansfield District Council to support military veterans and cadet organisations in the district.

Members of the Full Council agreed unanimously on Tuesday 17 July  to the ask for an officer report be prepared for the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Wellbeing to consider an annual fund which could:

•       Support military veterans and their families who are in crisis
•       Provide a one-stop veterans’ hub where they can seek help on a range of issues.
•       Support disadvantaged children within cadet organisations
•       Be used in ways that support Mansfield District Council’s commitment to the aims of the Armed Forces Covenant.

The motion to set up the fund was put forward by the council’s Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Sean McCallum, who is an ex-serviceman himself and a veteran of the Iraq War.

He said after the meeting: “This fund could provide invaluable support to military veterans and their families, and I’m very proud that as an authority, our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant is clearly visible to those who have served.

“Our cadet organisations provide fantastic and positive opportunities for young people. This fund could help us to assist children to enjoy development opportunities, who otherwise may be unable to take advantage due to financial difficulties.”

Mansfield Executive Mayor Kate Allsop, in responding to the motion, highlighted the various ways the council already supported veterans and their families, working in partnership with, among others, the Royal British Legion, and Armed Forces charities SAFFA and Combat Stress.

The council gives priority on its council house waiting list to serving and ex-serving members of the Armed Forces,  bereaved service families and injured Reserves personnel.

She told the councillors that the authority had 12 current applications on Homefinder for members of the Forces community and had rehoused 11 applicants from this group in the past 12 months. Various council services had also supported a number of veterans, most suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“A recent example is a veteran in temporary accommodation who had PTSD and was supported by staff predominantly by providing emotional support, listening to him and liaising with relevant agencies.

“This gentleman felt a beaten man, but with the inter-agency support provided and co-ordinated by the team, he is now settled in a new flat.”

The Mayor also highlighted the work of its new Community Garden project on Shaftesbury Avenue, Bull Farm, which has been supported by Cllr Sonya Ward, as a way of helping often socially isolated veterans with mental health problems.

She said: “It is commonly accepted that men find it more difficult to talk about their problems, particularly veterans and those suffering with PTSD. The aim of the community garden is to offer social interaction, skill-sharing and informal learning to provide purpose and achievement in a safe, friendly and inclusive environment.”

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