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The Sandbag Times Issue No:58

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The Veterans Magazine

YOU & THE COVENANT

YOU & THE COVENANT Article: Pablo Snow Featured Image: Armed Forces Covenant The Armed Forces Covenant is not just a pledge by the Government to support serving servicemen and women, veterans and their families, indeed it is a commitment that we should all be getting involved with. The SBT, along with Team Dynamics Motorsport, Stepway and the Tommy Atkins Veterans Centre are heading up an initiative to recognise those in the community that go above and beyond to support our local heroes. Working in the West Midlands over the past few years has really opened my eyes to the Armed Forces Covenant and the Community Covenant. But even for me, somebody who has dedicated his life to serving veterans, it has taken a lot of time and an awful lot of understanding to realise just what it is and how it can serve the Armed Forces and Veterans community. I’ll say from the very outset, the Covenant has had a bit of a bashing from me over the past few years, admittedly from a lack of understanding at times but I think even the MoD will admit it’s far from perfect. Having said all that, it is what we have and over the past few months I have written my thoughts on how to get the best out of it to work with your own community. I have to say that it is working here in the West Midlands. When the Covenant was rolled out, the whole of the UK was encouraged to sign up and show support. Happily, thousands upon thousands did. The result was local authorities, businesses, charities and members of the public started to take more interest in the welfare of our Forces past and present. More and more initiatives were born locally and the Government finally had to take notice. Some 10 years on, so much more can still be done. There are many who purely wear the badge and do nothing but flip the coin and you certainly will see the reverse. Many organisations have not signed the covenant but engage hugely with the Forces Community. Certainly, over here in Worcester, I can say our BTCC team is a shining example of that. You will have seen the immense coverage I try to give Matt Neal and Team Dynamics Motorsport. This is because of the unrelenting support they give to us. No strings attached, just support. “Life is short and we need to live that life to the maximum, the freedom we enjoy in the UK is in no uncertain part down to our armed forces, whether active, retired or recuperating and that is why I am so proud to be a Patron of the Sandbag Times. What you do and have done for this country goes beyond words.” Matt Neal Halfords Yuasa Racing driver and Team Dynamics Director Despite their incredibly busy schedule, bearing in mind that this is the top team in the top motorsport event in the UK with two of the best drivers, they still always have time to support our Armed Forces Community and in particular, the veterans in the local area. Surely, that is the kind of support that we should be seeing from signatories of the AFC. One thing that has become apparent to us, is that the companies that do sign and get involved are very seldom recognised for their efforts. Yes, I know, recognition is not the top priority in any charitable matter. But it is nice to have some one pat you on the back and say ‘Well done’ every now and then. That is all about to change. The SBT, The Tommy Atkins Centre, Stepway and Team Dynamics Motorsport are headlining a new initiative to recognise those who go above and beyond to support the AFC community. Each month, we will feature an organisation and how they have contributed. At the end of the year, we will announce our overall annual Covenant Champion and present an award in recognition of their efforts at an event still to be confirmed. We, at the SBT network are determined to support the Armed Forces Covenant, not only locally but also nationally and encourage its members to get involved in supporting those who have given so much. Detail on how you can get involved and sign the Armed Forces Covenant can be found here: https://www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk/ get-involved/sign-the-covenant/ If you would like to let us know how your own organisation or an organisation you know, has contributed to the Armed Forces Covenant then why not get in touch with us here at the Sandbag Times by emailing us at: info@sandbagtimes.com | 12 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk

Stepway STEPWAY A brand new charity to guide and support Veterans to adapt back into civilian life How Can We Help You? STEPWAY is here to help with adaption problems that you may be struggling with This may be due to leaving prison and you cannot access the services/ therapies that can help you adapt back into civvie life. We are here to bridge that gap, so you can lead a crime free life. Have you found yourself in police custody and nobody understands? We are here to provide help and support with supplying intervention programs, advice, signposting and introducing you to a mentor. Are you leaving the armed forces and have not received a resettlement package to help you gain employment, education or housing? Are you concerned about your future? We are here to guide you to access the services that can help. Are you an early service leaver (served for 4 years or less) and you feel that signposting is not enough to enable you to adapt back into civvie life? We are here to bridge that gap. Are you a homeless veteran that feels there is no other choice but to commit a crime to survive on the streets? Have you dropped out of society because you feel socially excluded from civvie life? We are here to make that transition less problematic. The 7 Step Programme Our 7-Step Program will give you the opportunity to travel down a different path. This program will empower you to make a voluntary change. We endevour to improve your mental wellbeing by enabling you to see a brighter future. 1st Step The first step is to contact STEPWAY by calling either Dawn or Bob on the number provided and we will arrange to meet you within 24hrs. We will have an informal chat after a brew. This will give you the opportunity to tell us a bit about yourself and the problems you have encountered. At the end of the meeting we will offer the level of support you may need. through similar experiences, so you will not feel alone or excluded. Individual programs are also available for those who find social situations stressful. There will be a small introduction to the charity and a brief about the different interventions and courses that are available. 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Step These steps will be spread over a 12 month period. It includes intervention programs for substance misuse, stress related conditions, adaption and how to create a positive future for yourself. These programs are all voluntary and free for veterans. What do we provide • We provide programs that will help you with adaption. • Group and Individual programs are available. • We can refer you to other charities who can help you financially. • We are a free service for you, the veteran. • You can self refer, so there is no waiting list for the initial support. • We help every veteran that is struggling with adaption. • We will be here to support and guide you for as long as you need us. • We will provide you with an alternative path to avoid the pathway to crime. • We provide you with the tools to improve your mental and physical wellbeing. For more information: Email: dawn@stepway.org or bob@stepway.org Or call: 07539 754 457 Website: www.stepway.org Stepway c/o The Trinity 16, Queen Street WORCESTER WR1 2PL 2nd Step The introduction program will be attended by veterans who are going www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 13 |

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