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Jul 16, 2017

Legion Funding To Support 'Change Step' Mentors Helping Veterans In Crisis


Funding from the Royal British Legion will help leading veterans support service Change Step provide vital help for ex-forces personnel in crisis...

A grant of £90,626 from the Legion’s External Grants programme will allow Change Step to provide dedicated crisis management mentors working across Wales.

The news came as existing Change Step mentors released a heartfelt and powerful film to promote their work with former members of the Armed Forces. I am Change Step features staff and volunteers on location in the Brecon Beacons and at Caernarfon Castle.

Change Step director Geraint Jones said the funding was a timely – and very welcome – boost: “This support from the Royal British Legion will enable dedicated crisis management mentors to provide peer support to veterans in Wales, and specifically to veterans unable to access other services due to co-occurring mental health and substance misuse issues, and any associated psychological and social problems,” he said.

“Barriers to access often lead to frustration, anger and isolation – but this backing will enable Change Step to help those veterans who currently fall between the gaps in other services. Our record shows that we deliver responsive, flexible and holistic veteran-to-veteran support, according to need.  In doing so, we relieve the pressure on police, health services and other statutory and non-statutory services.”

Delivered by veterans for veterans, Change Step provides peer mentoring for former members of the forces and reservists throughout Wales. The organisation has supported around 1,200 veterans and their families across Wales since being launched in 2014, and has been hailed as a 'best-in-class' and 'value for money' service by the respected Forces in Mind Trust.

The new funding enables Change Step to continue to deliver effective interventions with many of our most vulnerable former servicemen and women.  Over the last four years, the service has built considerable expertise in identifying and assisting veterans with mental health and associated issues, including social isolation, housing problems, and reliance on substances.

The Legion’s External Grants programme provides grant funding to organisations which share its aim of safeguarding the welfare of the Armed Forces community. In 2015-16, the External Grants programme awarded 98 grants totalling more than £4 million.

Ant Metcalfe, Area Manager for Wales for The Royal British Legion, said: “It can be very difficult for veterans in crisis to reach out and engage with services. This community project will assist veterans to bridge a gap in support and help people take back control of their lives.

“The mentors will provide friendship and practical support, enhancing recovery, and engagement that meets the individual needs of the veterans.

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