Having worked in Iraq (as a civilian) for several years I thought I understood what issues some personnel might encounter after service, however, I did not realise just how difficult it could be for a significant minority of veterans having spoken to colleagues and friends who had been in the military.
During the Covid-19 crisis I volunteered for a charity, Fares4Free, that normally supports veterans with journeys relating to essential support. These might be to combat stress to help with PTSD and anxiety resulting from serving in the armed forces, for example.
Until now, journeys could also be for benefits assessments, health appointments, to receive advice. However, during the Covid-19 most of these face-to-face services have been suspended. To be honest it was unexpected that they could find me and 20 other volunteers something to do. Unexpectedly though, the demand for their service has DOUBLED.
They are delivering food to vulnerable people every day. They are delivering prescriptions and on behalf of other organisations they are carrying out welfare checks.
More now than ever, they have found that they are being asked to support veterans who normally would not access the services of veterans’ support charities.
People who could normally get to the hospital, get to the supermarket, get to the GP, are now housebound due to underlying healthy conditions. While those who already access support for service-related mental health problems, need more help due to self-isolation through this crisis.
While not carrying passengers to social groups like veterans’ breakfast clubs, I’m astounded that Fares4Free are still managing to fight isolation one mile at a time during the Covid-19 crisis.
I can’t believe how much it costs to operate this service in mileage expenses for volunteers alone! They are even helping staff from essential veterans’ support organisations get to work avoiding public transport to minimise the risk to vulnerable veterans.
It’s a hugely rewarding and caring group to be a part of. Every bit of help makes such a difference and I’ve seen that already. I'd be hugely grateful if you would please consider sparing a few pounds for this amazing cause.
Phone: David on 07708 299399
CHARITY NUMBER: SC 046606
Fares4Free received charitable status on 06/06/2016