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Todays Veteran

Today's Veteran Firstly a big thank you to those veterans that took part in the photoshoot. From left to right. Tony Ellis (Para REME 12yrs 18yrs reserve), Adrian Oxenham (8 yrs RCT, RE and RLC 11 yrs Reserve), William Hume (Royal Navy 8 yrs MD), Dan Wood ( Royal Wessex 7yrs MD) Graham Stobbs (Royal Green Jackets 4yrs MD). Front row. Adam Commons (Army 22yrs ) with Leo the Alsatian (MOD Police 8yrs), Gary Lecce (47AD Sqn 13AASP 18yrs) Today's veterans are not old grey men. Many veterans when leaving the Armed Forces are still young men Dan Wood, 26 served 7 years before a medical discharge in May 2018 with physical Injuries and PTSD. Dan along with many many veterans feel lost and disconnected, struggle to find support and help that is so desperately needed when rejoining civvy street. Today's veterans are not able to access the services many rely on. Here in Swindon the Royal British Legion is shutting up shop leaving us with no where to go. At The Veterans Hub we have extensive research and experience to know that this is the same across the country. Our veterans are being let down on a massive scale. Part of the problem is the modernisation of the military charities, and closing facilities across the country leaving many with nowhere to turn for help. The Veterans Hub will deliver a modern service, up to date therapies, face to face 24/7 support you can trust. Run by veterans for veterans. Myself having been through the system and bounced from pillar to post believe that local regional hubs will help reconnect to the veterans community. Meeting these veterans on Saturday made me realise that we do need our own meeting places. Somewhere to be part of, to feel proud of service and the banter that goes with it. The smiles on everyone's faces was brilliant and listening to these guys stories felt like I was back in again. Only two of the veterans in the photo originally came from Swindon. Gary started life in Liverpool. Tony in Burnley, Adrian in Newcastle, William in South Shields, and so on. Many never returning to there home towns and relocating. Swindon and Wiltshire has the highest concentration of veterans in the country. We want people to realise these are young men and have the rest of there lives in front of them. Trying to start again in your twenties and thirties when all you have known is the military is stressful, lonely, frightening and difficult at the best of times. Add on to this physical injury and mental health problems, where are these guys supposed to turn to. The NHS is not geared up to cope with veterans. The local councils with there rules and regulations don't recognise veterans as being local and find it hard to get council accommodation when leaving putting extra pressure on the families. Employment is another factor that needs to be addressed with many finding it hard to seek employment and make ends meet. The veterans hub recognises that we need a facility for veterans to access the care and support they need. A place to feel safe and among their own. Veteran to veteran peer mentoring. Mental health therapy and wellbeing services. Financial support, physical activities, community work but most of all a personal consistency to build trust and a friendly face. Having talked to many veterans in the last two years, I have come to the conclusion that there is little if none by way of help and understanding. We aim to be the place that serving will eventually access the hub when transitioning from the services to make life a little easier. A reality check on what to expect in civvy street and experienced detailed advice on a wide range of problems that veterans face. Homeless veterans is also on our radar with an estimated 8000 on the streets of the UK. It is our responsibility as humans to try and stop this downward spiral and end veteran suicides. Look out for the veterans hub fundraisers and please show your support for these brave servicemen and women that donated their youth to protecting and helping others. Help me to help them. Thank you. Graham Stobbs The Veterans Hub Swindon

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Veterans need more help!

Listen to Grahams interview on BBC Wiltshire about the lack of support for our veterans and how the big charities are failing those that need it most! https://soundcloud.com/veteranshub-swindon/bbc-wi