Guest column: Vital we support our war veterans

Coun Keith Girling, Nottinghamshire County Council's armed forces champion
Coun Keith Girling, Nottinghamshire County Council's armed forces champion

We owe so much to local service people who fought in conflict over the last 100 years, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and we shall never forget their bravery.

For many of those who survive war, the trauma and combat leaves many emotional scars and physical injuries that last a lifetime.

It may surprise most readers to hear that one in 20 Nottinghamshire residents currently alive today are ex-service people, which amounts to 43,500 residents.

For those veterans in old age, they are often at higher risk of mental health problems, which can in crease if they become socially isolated.

This is why the council has teamed up with the St John and Red Cross Defence Medical Welfare Service and the Alzheimer’s Society to secure a £400,000 grant from the Community Covenant Aged Veterans Funds to support such veterans.

Our portion of the money will be spent linking older veterans at risk of social isolation.

Possible projects could include setting up war memories archives, activities which help bridge the generational gap with young people or befriending services to make sure they get the most out of later life.

The grant will also fund three welfare officers to provide practical and emotional support to aged veterans and their families and carers.

It is vital that we don’t turn our back on those who have made such a difference to our lives today and those of future generations.

Unfortunately, there are no longer any survivors of the First World War.

However, towns and villages across the county can claim up to £300 to commemorate this war in their local area.

A staggering 13,000 people lost their lives in that conflict, so I hope all communities can make use of this funding to remember their sacrifice.

The latest funding deadline is July 14.

Coun Keith Girling is Nottinghamshire County Council’s armed forces champion