HEREFORDSHIRE’S Veteran Support Centre (VSC) is providing support to those who need it, despite the coronavirus pandemic

The centre, which provides access and coordinated support in Herefordshire as a one-stop shop for veterans, serving personnel, family members and carers, had to close due to coronavirus restrictions.

But the VSC responded quickly to the outbreak to establish a safe way to support veterans who were shielding themselves.

In a matter of days after lockdown, more than 20 volunteers came forward from the armed forces community to help with supplies and welfare checks.

Mike Davey, Herefordshire Council’s veteran support centre manager, is helping to coordinate the shielded veteran volunteer effort.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of volunteers who have come forward to help,” he said.

“We were really worried about some individuals and families feeling isolated, but social isolation doesn’t mean we can’t be there for veterans as they were for us when they proudly served. We can be at the end of the phone for a chat, help to sort out any pressing needs, try to combat loneliness, put the world to rights, collect any subscriptions and drop off food.”

The Defence Medical Welfare Service are an active member of the Herefordshire Armed Forces Covenant and provide support to veterans and their families who are undergoing medical treatment in and out of hospital.

Welfare officer Ashley Winter said: “Once lockdown happened, many of our clients were then considered ‘shielded’ or ‘vulnerable’ so it made sense to combine forces with Herefordshire Council and the Veteran Support Centre. It would have been an impossible undertaking to ensure nearly 60 shielded veterans received regular checks and supplies without the help of the volunteers – they were and continue to be amazing. The volunteers go above and beyond.”

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