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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Barr welcomes the launch of Veterans Support Programme within Mid and East Antrim


Alan Barr, one of the Ulster Unionist Party’s (UUP) candidates for Braid in this year’s council elections, has welcomed the news that a Veterans Support Programme and Roadshow will be launched by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.


In recent weeks the local authority approved a motion to prepare an action plan to address the needs of veterans of the armed forces, in recognition of the contribution made by men and women who have served in the many theatres of conflict across the world.



It is understood that council plan to host a special veteran's roadshow event on Tuesday 21 February 2023 in Carrickfergus.


Alongside this, a draft support programme has been designed, for veterans living in the Mid and East Antrim Borough which, it is hoped, will assist in addressing the sense of isolation and helplessness experienced by some veterans.


The programme includes:


• Take a Hike - a veteran walking group

• Journey Through History - organised visits to sites of historical interest across the borough

• Light Lunch Club - lunches hosted in main towns and featuring interesting talks

• Invitations to veterans' groups to meet with the mayor

• Further roadshow events in the borough

• Leaflets highlighting available veterans' services.



The UUP Braid candidate Alan Barr recently met with Northern Ireland Veterans’ Commissioner Danny Kinahan, and following discussions, identified several areas of improvement for veterans. These include developing an ability to identify veterans living in the area, prioritising assistance to those with physical and mental illness and providing support to help older veterans access technology, as well as having the capacity to signpost/refer veterans on to support groups.

 


Alan explained:


"According to the Armed Forces Covenant, the Armed Forces sacrifice civilian freedoms and can face injury and death in the defence of the realm.  


"Therefore, our veterans and families deserve the respect, support and fair treatment within Mid and East Antrim - an obligation that is shared by individuals, voluntary organisations and public bodies.

 

"As a veteran of Northern Ireland and Afghanistan, the welfare of veterans within Mid and East Antrim is of utmost importance for me.  



"Priorities should be the ability to:


• Identify veterans who are in need of support; establish a means for veterans to access information;


• Develop opportunities to assist veterans in using information technology; and


• Ensure that there is a means whereby veterans can be signposted or referred on to other agencies via the Council.’’


Plans for the Veterans Support Programme were approved by councillors at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council on 9th January 2023.



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