Volunteers needed for journey to Civvy Street
The Matthew Project is looking for volunteers to help with Outside the Wire, its rapidly growing service for current and former members of the Armed Forces.
The service took a huge leap forward last week with the official opening of the Veteran’s Centre at the Britannia Barracks in Norwich. General Lord Richard Dannatt unveiled a plaque at the new base, and commended the vision of bringing together several veterans organisations under one roof.
The opening of the Veterans Centre makes possible a fortnightly support group. The Matthew Project is seeking volunteers for these meetings: perhaps helping to facilitate a group, preparing snacks or offering a lift, helping with job searching and CV advice.
“Coming out of the Forces can in itself be a traumatic experience,” said The Matthew Project’s Volunteer Development Leader, Eldred Willey. “The Forces are like a separate culture, with their own language and laws, dress code and discipline, camaraderie and daily challenges.
“Those making the journey to Civvy Street all too often find themselves isolated in a foreign land. The ‘work hard, play hard’ culture no longer works in a remote Norfolk village, and people may be reluctant to access mainstream support services, because of the associated stigma.”
Outside the Wire is currently supporting over 30 veterans in Norfolk, helping them with challenges around alcohol and drugs, physical and emotional health, money and housing, family and relationships.
“Outside The Wire was like a breath of fresh air,” said one client. “The team are professional, competent, and understand. I have found that I have got further into my issues in six months than I have done in ten years of seeing 'outsiders'….The ability to talk with someone who understands is key to my recovery, and the whole military grounding in the charity makes a huge difference - a certain structure in the system is reassuring, timekeeping and reliability is contagious and gives me hope for the future.”
Norfolk has one of the largest concentrations of veterans in the country: including families they total around 40,000 people. Norfolk is also home for over 8,000 current members of the Armed Forces and their families, and many reservists.
The Matthew Project invites anyone interested in volunteering at the Veterans’ Centre to contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Eldred Willey, on 01603 626123, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured at the opening with a commemorative plaque, are Outside the Wire staff (from left to right) Andy Wicks (manager), Phil Dunn, Andy Craze and Duncan Maile.