Thursday, November 13, 2008

Supporting our Ex Servicemen and Women

I agree with John Moore and Trevor Philpott. However a long term strategy should be to create a mechanism, that assists retiring servicemen and women, offering them comprehensive skills training before they leave the service. Also a full audit should be carried out on their financial status and provide short term assistance where required. In the meantime the many thousands of ex-service personnel who are currently in prison or homeless need to be looked after now. They could be looked after by retired service personnel who can retrain, build up morale whilst speaking the same language. They basically need a "buddy". There should be halfway houses to accomodate them from the streets or from prison. They would feel more comfortable being looked after by people who they can identify with and understand their problems with a practical "eye".
Their are many excellent retired service personnel who could form a HELPCORP to look after their welfare. This would free up prisons and get these people off the streets. What an indictment for the government to see war heroes reduced to poverty.

Tony Smith MBE

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Remembering ex-service personnel who are now homeless or trapped in the Criminal Justice System

As we remember those service men and women who have given their lives during past conflicts, I am left asking what we are planning to do about those who now find themselves homeless or in prison.

As a result of recent operations in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, many ex-service personnel and their families are today experiencing shattered lives, enduring massive mental trauma, physical disability and family breakdown.

Approximately 10,000 ex-service men are believed to be in prison. Many hundreds are sleeping rough on the streets of our cities. These statistics can only be viewed as a truly sad indictment of this country's recognition of the sacrifices they have all made.

Whilst applauding the good work of the Royal British Legion, other service charities and Regimental associations, having voluntarily given their lives as they did, surely it is time for us all to recognise the sacrifice these men and women have also made. With a meaningful partnership between government, service charities and society, the majority could be given back the pride they once felt and assisted back to full and product lives.