|Armed Forces Community Welfare Pathway for Wigan Launch
Veterans Minister Kevan Jones pictured with Christopher Barnard Ashton, Platt Bridge
More than 80 members of the Armed Forces Community turned out at Wigan Town Hall to see the Veterans Minister Kevan Jones launch the Armed Forces Community Welfare Pathway initiative.
Wigan is one of three local authorities in the UK to proudly pilot this Welfare Pathway – which a joint initiative between Wigan Council; The Ministry of Defence; the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency; Wigan Borough Veterans Council; The Royal British Legion; SSAFA-Forces Help and other ex service organisations from across Wigan Borough.
The initiative has been set up to enable serving personnel, their families and veterans to receive help, advice and support on everything from priority healthcare to housing and education. They will also be able to link with Service and veterans’ charities and the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Veterans' Champion Cllr Cunliffe says:
“Wigan Council is delighted to be the third local authority in the UK to pilot this joint initiative between local and central government. This council is immensely proud of the contribution of service men and women from the borough. We are pleased that we will be at the front line of helping to deliver services to members of the armed forces community. Some of the benefits that Serving personnel, families and veterans can receive are; advice about access to NHS services, information about help for veterans with mental health problems, help and advice about education, skills and careers, affordable and social housing, help with transport including Blue Badges and concessionary transport and advice about, and access to, affordable childcare.
Meet several local Veterans who received their Veterans Badges at the event today:
- Mrs Kathleen Betty Tyson, Worsley served in the Army (ATS) between 1941 – 1946. She toured all over the world from Japan to Liverpool. Upon receiving her badge today she said: “It’s very nice and unexpected.” She now continues to do a lot of good work for the Red Cross.
- Christopher Barnard Ashton, Platt Bridge served in the Royal Navy between 1965 – 1972. He toured all over the world, mainly in the Far East, South Africa and Australia. “This is very unexpected.” says Christopher, when he received his badge, earlier today.
- Barry Naylor, Abram, served in the army between 1983 and 1994. During the 11 years of service he toured the UK and Europe. He first gained his apprenticeship in Harrogate, before touring Germany for four years with the 7th Signal regiment. He also spent 12 months with Bolford 249 Signal Squadron, where he spent some time in Norway. He went on to Yugoslavia. “I really enjoyed my time in the Army and it’s nice to get some recognition. Sometimes soldiers aren’t always recognised for what they do for the Country. Support can not always be in place for soldiers placed individually, so this initiative will really help to provide the much needed support.”
- Kenneth Thompson, Golborne, served in the Army between 1957 – 1959, he toured Berlin and Hong Kong. “At that time there were two new years eve dates in Hong Kong. One date would most certainly oppose the other, so the City was prone to riots.
“Sometimes you forget about this time in your life, so today has bought a lot of memories flooding back. This new scheme will really help.
“It’s a shame that there is no medal for National Service, you really feel this when you march with pride on Armistice Day.”
- Linda Connelly, Radcliffe served in the WRNS for 14 years between 1978 and 1992. She was a Petty Officer in the Met Office. “This is a really honour to be recognised for what you’ve done. This is a great initiative; it provides a point of contact for when people come out of the forces.”
- Clifford Jarvis, Leigh, served in the RAF between 1952 – 1955. He was a mechanic, responsible for keeping the pilots up in the air. He joined at 17 years old, so this was a huge responsibility. “I feel very proud today, it’s taken me back 48 years. Sometimes I wish I was there today, it’s a very different way of life and a great experience. You learn a great deal of discipline. My thoughts are with those fighting today.”