November 2013 – Cheque presentation of £300,000 for members of wounded armed forces by Restore Counselling charity, with Prof Lord Alton, third from left, and Frank Doran, in the Roscoe Room of Liverpool John Moores University.
Charities caring for former armed forces members and their families in Merseyside received a massive lottery boost of £300,000.
Mental health support provider The Beacon Counselling Trust, in partnership with major social care provider Local Solutions, received the grant from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund.
It will go to their Restore programme for ex-service personnel and families and initially fund a free counselling service being offered to ex-service members and their families.
Neil Platt, Beacon clinical programmes director at Beacon, who formerly served in 4 Para Regiment, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to be able to support our ex-service personnel and their families. There are many misconceptions about mental health problems within the armed forces community and the focus is regularly on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“In fact other problems such as alcohol misuse, depression and family and social issues are much more of a problem and these two organisations working together will form a springboard for support in Merseyside.”
The award will help fund a number of other major initiatives to support ex-service personnel and their families over the next three years, besides the counselling service.
Mick Gleason, an Iraq War veteran, said: “I have been receiving help from Restore for nearly three years now. They do so much brilliant work and this funding will help them to develop a number of much needed programmes in Liverpool.”
Steve Hawkins, Local Solutions chief executive, said: “We look forward to working in partnership with Beacon Counselling Trust on this initiative which will provide much needed support for many ex-service personnel and their families.”
It will also mean the delivery of the first mental health first aid course for the armed forces community in the UK, specifically designed after lengthy research, development and funding from bodies including the Royal British Legion.
This course is available to not only ex-service personnel but also their families and organisations which work with this group.
Dr Sharon McDonnell, of the University of Manchester’s centre for mental health and risk, said: “The mental health training provided by Beacon is excellent. I learnt so much and this training will be a huge help to the armed forces community.”
Details of other Restore initiatives including peer support service, carers programme for ex-service personnel and their families, free Christmas hamper programme and Restore app are on the Beacon website: www.beaconcounsellingtrust. co.uk or call 0151 226 0696, or 07506 762949.
Yesterday, November 9th, 2012, (Lord) David Alton opened the new Restore counselling centre for veterans who have returned from combat zones. David Alton, who is Patron of Restore said: “Physical injuries are usually apparent, mental and emotional injuries less so. many of our brave and courageous servicemen who go into combat, risking their lives on behalf of their nation, return from places like Afghanistan and Iraq, with significant emotional distress. We owe it to them to do all we can to address those painful issues and I am delighted that Restore has taken on this task.”
Liverpool’s former Lord Mayor, Frank Doran, who has himself served in combat zones, is Chairman of Restore. He said: “The project’s remit is to give back their lives to service personnel who often feel they have left their lives behind.”
Restore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org