What Is Being Done For Our Veterans?
Today, as we all know, is Armistice Day. A day when we can thank, pay tribute to, and praise the heroes of our country.
It's important to remember, though, that while it is a national commemoration of the veterans, the respect they rightly deserve should be the same all year round.
So, other than 11th November, what is being done for those who have fought for us? And I don't mean just in terms of celebration; I also mean for their well-being. These men and women did things for our country that eclipse anything that most of us can dream of doing. There is injuries, homelessness and mental health disorders.
Throughout the year there are many charities trying their hardest to offer the best possible post-war life for veterans. Launchpad is one of those charities that house veterans.
"The purpose of Launchpad is to provide support to veterans who struggle with transition," David Shaw, a veteran who works for both the Launchpad and The Veterans' Foundation, told TheLADbible. "We aim to get veterans into employment and living independently within two years.
"We provide veterans with their own refurbished flats, but also with access to communal facilities: an IT suite, a laundry, a social area and a garden.
"Ninety-five percent of our veterans have been homeless, most are poor and some are not even on benefit. Many have welfare and health issues, broken families, drink and drug issues and some come from prison. Most suffer from depression and 15 percent or so suffer from PTSD.
"Forty percent of our veterans gain employment; all benefit from the security, independence and camaraderie in the Launchpad houses. We give them time to stabilise their usually chaotic lives. Another 50 percent settle into independent living but without jobs - albeit many are still seeking jobs.
"The vast majority of our veterans benefit from confidence-building activities such as our community projects. They gain social confidence through taking part in a wide range of diversionary activities, their health improves, their finances are brought into order and they start planning a better life."
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The outside of Launchpad's Avondale House on the Byker Estate. Credit: Launchpad
The truth is that most of us couldn't begin to even imagine what our veterans have seen and been a part of. Therefore, we can't properly generate the empathy to understand how they're feeling and what they need. Returning to civilian life following the horror of war is challenging, and that's why we need people and organisations to help with it, but they cannot do that without our help.
The Veterans' Foundation is attempting to gain that help from people by making their charity give those who donate something to engage with. Their Veterans' Lottery allows them to buy a ticket which will be entered into a draw, giving them chances to win prizes.
"It would dearly love people to buy Veterans' Lottery tickets and make donations so it can give grants to front-line charities - ones that are doing good things with veterans," David said.
While today and Remembrance Sunday is about honouring the fallen, it's also about honouring those who are still alive. Anyone and everyone can volunteer in their community or create their own fundraisers.
Veterans and their families visit the Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance. Credit: PA
We've all heard of Help for Heroes, and their work in helping those wounded at war is admirable. However, while heaps of praise is rightly given to them, and their help for charity partners, anything extra that can be done is even better.
Remember that you can help our heroes, and not just today.
Lest we forget.
Featured image credit: PA