A LIFELINE service for veterans has been relaunched in grand style as it looks to spread its wings further than ever.
The Military Community Veterans Centre (MCVC) was formally renewed with an event at the New York Stadium attended by civic dignitaries and members of organisations with which the charity wants to work more closely.
Cheryl Jones, who is leading the centre’s flagship outreach programme, Hidden Faces, said the event “fires the starting pistol” on a mission to spread the word of how MCVC can foster comradeship while fighting loneliness and opening up opportunities for veterans.
“We were showing the dignitaries and other organisations what we are about,” she said.
“We will be promoting comradeship by putting on functions and bringing MCVC back to life like all the other organisations that effectively shut down in lockdown.
“We want to bring in other organisations to maybe use our van and trailer to reach out to people for wellbeing purposes.”
MCVC’s aim is to provide comradeship and a signposting service to expert support for ex-service personnel and their dependents.
“In Rotherham, there are several long-established service associations, and MCVC takes the lead in addressing veterans’ needs and raising their profile with Rotherham Council,” said Cheryl.
The charity has endured a frustrating year, after having to cancel major events such as Armed Forces Day and its VE Day and VJ Day celebrations due to lockdown measures.
Now it hopes to have a more visible presence through Hidden Faces, which will involve the MCVC’s outreach van touring the borough to promote its services and regular drop-in sessions.
The aim is to highlight and tackle the growing problems of loneliness and isolation among veterans, whose family, friends and neighbours are encouraged to refer them for support.
Cheryl said: “We will approach individuals and provide an open invite to events or activities we will be running throughout the year.
“This may be indoor activities, such whist drives or bingo, online quizzes and games, as well as regular day trips to the seaside races, football and cricket matches, or garden or shopping centres.”
One successful recent group activity was the Beat the Street Competition, which encouraged residents to get active by battling for points scored by swiping boxes fixed on lamp posts, preferably travelling between the checkpoints by foot, bike or scooter.
The MCVC squad scooped a team prize, which was presented to Cheryl’s delight at the relaunch event.
She said: “We were trying to get the veterans together, so we put a team in.
“We all went out quite regularly, and because it was a team event we all got involved it really made you feel part of something again.”
If you would like to volunteer for MCVC or know a veteran in need of support, visit the MCVC Rotherham (Veterans) Facebook page, or email email@example.com with enquiries about Hidden Faces or firstname.lastname@example.org with general enquiries.
Call 07471 752466 about Hidden Faces or 07876 221824 with general MCVC enquiries.