Veterans can help shape service

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WAR veterans are being urged to help shape a new support service on Wearside.

Sunderland Veterans’ Network aims to being together the dozens of community, help and advice organisations that have been set up across the city in recent years.

It is hoped the network will bring new hope to struggling ex-members of the armed forces.

Ex-serviceman Graham Hall is helping to spearhead the initiative, which was set up after a report highlighted the plight of many former soldiers and the “disjointed” support system.

Mr Hall is now urging veterans to attend the first meeting of the network, which will also be attended by charities and military representatives, including Major John Lighten of the York-based 15 Brigade, to provide input on how to improve their situation.

“The whole system is disjointed and veterans don’t have a voice on a local level,” said Mr Hall. “We are inviting representatives from any associations or any organisations that are working in this type of welfare to join us.”

In recent years, Sunderland has seen the launch of a series of projects to help ex-service personnel hit with drug, drink and mental health problems.

Plans have also been unveiled to build a new centre for those left homeless after leaving the Armed Forces.

The network meeting will take place at the Gunners’ Club, in Mary Street, Sunderland, on Thursday at 5pm. For more information call 07711 184444.