‘Join forces’ to support veterans

Local veteran, Andy Reid gave an inspirational speech at the end of the event to encourage services to rethink how they support veterans
Local veteran, Andy Reid gave an inspirational speech at the end of the event to encourage services to rethink how they support veterans

Services helping the borough’s ex-forces community have been given a boost.

A summit was held at Leigh Town Hall featuring representatives of Wigan Council, the Royal British Legion, Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles, NHS and others to discuss the work they do in Wigan and Leigh to help local veterans.

Leigh Community Trust (LCT) organised the Networking 4 Forces event which aimed to arm veterans with new contacts to make sure they are provided with the right support.

Fellow veteran, keynote speaker and LCT colleague, Andy Reid, gave an inspirational talk urging services to think differently about how they deliver their support and encourage them to work collaboratively.

He said: “There’s a large ex-forces community in Wigan borough and there are many services that provide a lot of help.

“But it’s important that they are aware of each other and the work they’re doing in order for local veterans to reap the full benefits.

“Even though each organisation is great separately, we’re stronger working together, so today was about instigating conversations and encouraging new connections in order for us to easily signpost the ex-forces community to the relevant support network.”

The speed-dating style event gave each service three minutes to talk to one another, before moving around the room to introduce themselves and speak with a different organisation.

Coun Paul Kenny, lead member for armed forces in the borough, said: “It’s so important that we share our work with our partners in order to inspire new ideas and working relationships that can ultimately lead to better service provision for the veterans in Wigan and Leigh.

“Events like this are just the beginning, it’s how those new connections stem into something bigger afterwards that is important and I applaud Leigh Community Trust on their successful efforts to bring together these services to learn more about one another.”

Wigan Council’s portfolio holder for adult social care, Coun Keith Cunliffe, opened the event and explained that services should to work together to complement each other.

There will be another Networking 4 Forces event for borough veterans to drop in and find out more about the services available to them at Leigh Sports Village in February.

For more information about armed forces work in the borough, follow Wigan Council and Leigh Community Trust on Facebook.