Healthcare staff reach out to help ex-service people


More support is being given to ex-service people by staff at Airedale Hospital  who have provided a base for a new welfare drop-in service and taking up an offer of specialist training.


The Royal British Legion now visits the hospital site to spread the word about the wide range of advice and support they can give to serving personnel, veterans and their dependents.

Ian Wilson, the Legion’s advice and information officer is available on the first Friday of every month, from 10am to 2pm, opposite the patient information room above the main entrance to Airedale Hospital. Visitors or staff  can drop in to discuss any issues with him face-to-face.

Airedale Hospital was one of the partners to sign the Bradford District Armed Forces Community Covenant Pledge in January 2012 to ensure that the armed forces community face no disadvantage when accessing local public services. This sits under the national Armed Forces Covenant, led by central Government, which showso support for and gratitude to the armed forces community for the sacrifices made in discharging its duties.

Jane Lang, general manager at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, whose grandad served in the RAF, said: “I feel we should all do what we can to support those who serve in military services and their families. We know that the British Legion wants to reach out to communities to let them know what help is available as so many people are not aware of it and we are pleased to be able to help.

“We will also be inviting York St John University as part of the North Yorkshire Community Covenant to deliver veteran awareness training for key members of our staff on site so that we can provide this community with the best care possible.”

Keith Webster, an information volunteer, who is President of the Bradford branch of the British Legion, said the charity had raised over £40m this year to help ex-servicemen and women of all ages including young people who were severely injured in the Gulf War and conflicts in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

The charity provides support with financial problems and debt management, sorting out adaptations to homes, providing respite breaks to seaside centres and adventure holidays for young families, tracing lost medical record and their war medals, careers advice, housing issues and applying for social housing, drug problems, coping with bereavement and health problems including post- traumatic stress.

Keith, aged 82, who lives in Wilsden, said they would like to get more young people involved in their work. He said: “Our aim is to help members of the armed forces community who have been injured to lead as independently as possible. Our volunteers go out to their homes and discuss a wide range of problems with them.  .

“For example, we helped one ex-serviceman recently who was sleeping rough on the streets and in a really bad way. Within three hours of getting in touch with our charity we had found him somewhere warm to stay and food vouchers to spend. 

The British Legion’s headquarters based in Leeds at 75 Albion Street is open 10am – 4pm or you can call 0808 802 8080 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.