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Serving Our Veterans - May 2022

Serving Our Veterans - May 2022

Published on 30 May 2022 12:05 PM

Cheryl, our Veterans Coordinator has been busy helping veterans in North Tyneside this month. Here are Jack and Norman's stories to tell you more about what we've done.

Jack's story

Jack is retired and currently lives with his granddaughter and great grandson. His wife passed away and he returned to the UK from Malta 6 months ago.

He had no knowledge in terms of local activities, or social groups within the community or the veteran community when he returned to North Tyneside.

During an event which took place at the White Swan Customer Contact Centre, Killingworth Jack approached Age UK North Tyneside’s Veteran Coordinator Cheryl Newton. Together they completed the Veteran Questionnaire and went on to chat about Operation Veteran and Age UK North Tyneside’s services in detail.

Jack was invited to attend the regular ‘Pull up a Sandbag’ drop in sessions at Operation Veteran.

The completed questionnaire identified that Jack enjoyed eating healthily and keeping himself active. He took an immediate interest in the Age UK North Tyneside Healthy Habits programme.

Jack attends the weekly meet ups at Operation Veteran and is an active participant and contributor to the group. He has also attended the Whitley Bay Royal British Legion Breakfast Club.

Jack isn’t facing any difficult challenges but finds comfort in knowing he has a group of like-minded people he can be amongst.

A referral was made to the Healthy Habits team, and Jack will be attending the 6 month programme from June. This will help support Jack to socialise even further, and reduce his risk of isolation. He will be able to build additional friendships and get involved in the local and veteran communities.

Jack had bonded particularly well with a fellow veteran from a previous referral made by the Veteran Coordinator into Operation Veteran, he too is joining the Healthy Habits programme.

Jack said “The service I have received from Cheryl has been very good and she has been very welcoming. It has got me out of the house, and meeting other people, and something to look forward to again.”

Norman's story

Norman Young is an active, enthusiastic, retired 82 year old who lives in a fantastic sheltered accommodation unit. Norman is widowed, and was married 57 years. He has 3 children, and a sister who he helps and drives to play her Bingo twice each week.

Norman was participating in the Age UK North Tyneside Digital Champions project as he found technology challenging. The Digital Champion Coordinator referred Norman to V2V to learn more about local veteran services. He had said that he was looking for something which could make a difference to his day to day life.

Age UK North Tyneside’s Veteran Coordinator Cheryl Newton spoke to Norman and invited him to attend the next ‘Pull up a Sandbag’ drop in sessions at Operation Veteran and when he arrived he completed the Veteran questionnaire. He also attends the Whitley Bay Royal British Legion Breakfast Club following an invitation from Age UK North Tyneside’s Veteran Coordinator.

The completed questionnaire identified that Norman enjoyed aspects of health and wellbeing and he took an interest in the Age UK North Tyneside Healthy Habits programme.

A referral was made to the Healthy Habits team and Norman is now attending the 6 month programme. He explained that his recent ‘homework’ was to make sausage rolls for the cohort for the following session.

Norman isn’t facing any challenges, but loves to participate socially.

Attending Operation Veteran, the regular Veteran Beach Walks, and joining Healthy Habits has increased Norman’s social interaction. He has the opportunity to meet new people, and it encourages him to lead a healthier lifestyle. This helps combat the loneliness of his wife passing away, and keeps his mind active. Interacting with fellow veterans is important to Norman and sharing their stories lifts his mood.

Norman said, “It gives me the incentive to get showered, be presentable and then I am ready to meet other people. Healthy Habits might help me lose weight I hope, thank you.”

Norman commented on the service he has received from Age UK North Tyneside and stated that Cheryl “you remind me of Tina Turner….you’re simply the best!”

Our support for ex-services

To find out more about our vital support to veterans over 50, their spouses, and their carers, click here.