Regimental secretaries from across the North West, North East and Scotland visited Phoenix House for a special open day to find out how they can help spread the word to veterans in their associations.
They were joined by members of the Scottish Veterans’ Residences, which provides residential accommodation for ex-service men and women of all ages. The charity is currently building a new development of 51 flats in Glasgow to provide support for veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life.
The open day included presentations by a number of Phoenix House staff as well as military personnel. There was also a discussion time to receive feedback from the visitors.
Major (Retd.) Chris Lawton, Durham secretary for the Rifles, said the facilities were fantastic for veterans and serving soldiers alike.
“To see what’s available now to our injured soldiers is brilliant. During Northern Ireland and Bosnia, there was nothing like this available. We have 31 amputees and three are triple amputees in our association and this is just tremendous for them to access,” he said.
“Our injured need help now and then in another five to 10 years, PTSD will set in and that’s going to be an unknown number.”
Geoffrey Ashton, welfare and benevolent secretary for the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, described Phoenix House as a “wonderful facility”, adding: “Help for Heroes is really opening the doors to all veterans, which is really great news.”
Susie Hamilton, SVR fundraising and marketing manager, who also attended the open day, said it was fantastic to visit Phoenix House to get ideas for SVR’s new facility as well as find out what the Centre can offer veterans using their services.
“Our key aim is to see how we can work together and how the veterans we help can be supported by Phoenix House and vice versa and we found out a lot of information regarding that,” she said.
She said SVR staff were impressed by the art and music facilities available at Phoenix House and they hope to incorporate something similar in the Glasgow development. The charity will also explore the idea of some of its veterans enrolling on the Pathfinder Course, run at Phoenix House, which pairs veterans with businessmen and women to boost their employment prospects.
“We have a huge number of Wounded, Injured and Sick coming through our services,” Susie said. “We provide long term accommodation and day-to-day support but getting them away to something at Phoenix House could be really good for them and the Pathfinder course could be helpful for a lot of them.
“We can help those at Phoenix House too, especially if people do not have permanent accommodation, there is the option for them to contact us.”
Col (Retd) Mo Usman, Centre Manager, who welcomed visitors to the centre, said the open day was a great success. He said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to meet regimental secretaries from across the north of England and Scotland. “We want to work closely with Regimental Associations and hope they will help us spread the word about the Help for Heroes Phoenix House Recovery Centre to wounded, sick or injured veterans in their associations.”
Mr Usman said it was also fantastic to welcome visitors from the Scottish Veterans Residences to the Centre. He said: “The charity does great work, providing unique residential accommodation for ex-service men and women. We are looking forward to working closely with them to provide even better care for our wounded, injured and sick.” Lawrence Mannion, Support Hub Development Officer at Phoenix House, said hosting the Regimental Secretary Open Day was a great opportunity for the centre.
He said: “It gave us the chance to showcase the facility and our support services to a wide range of professionals so they can take the message back to their associations.
“Hosting the event also highlights our wish to be involved at a regional level in all issues pertinent to the wider Armed Forces community, veterans and their families.”