Ex-Forces and Reservists invited to join new veterans’ wellbeing project for Thanet and Canterbury

Karen Brinkman at the Ramsgate Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Club with members Ralph Hoult and David Murray completing the new survey

A new veterans’ well-being project has launched with the aim of supporting ex-forces members and their families in Thanet and Canterbury.

East Kent Mind Armed Forces Connector Karen Brinkman  has completed service champions training for the Armed Forces Network and is helping the charity to launch a survey and organise events.

The first veterans’ get together will be on February 17 in partnership with Margate FC Community Trust. The Trust has offered the use of the sponsors lounge for veterans to meet for pre match refreshments before watching the game.

Karen, who also runs various Thanet business groups, said: “We are trying to reach veterans that may not have connected with existing hubs and breakfast clubs.

“We have other events lined up and we’re launching a Thanet Female Veterans group in March on International Women’s Day.

“My role is getting people connected that may not have come forward before. The survey is to find out what people are interested in and about their wellbeing.”

The scheme is funded by Kent County Council and Karen has been supported by existing Armed Forces members such as Kevin Hobbs who runs the Thanet veterans’ breakfast club and The Veterans Association in Birchington.”

It is hoped that there will be various offers such as reduced entry at Margate FC by showing a veteran’s card as well as a monthly  e-bulletin filled with information on trips, activities, and support, and a monthly draw to receive a £20 M&S voucher.

The 2021 census, with updated details in Spring 2023, showed there were 52,545 UK armed forces veterans living in Kent with 88% of those veterans being male, and 57.9% aged 65 and over.

The census statistics showed  97.9% of Kent veterans were living in households while 2.1% were resident in communal establishments.

Thanet had the largest number of UK armed forces veterans in Kent – 5,765 veterans – accounting for 11% of all veterans in the county. Of those  5,055 were male and  714 female.

Thanet had the highest number and proportion of veterans not in good health, with 2,454 (42.5%) and the highest number and proportion of disabled veterans, with 2,139  (37.1%).

Thanet has existing veterans clubs including a special hub at Ramsgate Royal British Legion, The Veterans Association in Birchington and the breakfast club.

The aim of the new wellbeing program is to bring services to people who may not have accessed them before with a recent YouGov poll showing 41% of British Armed Forces veterans feel lonely or isolated after leaving the military.

Former Armed Forces personnel and Reservists who are interested in the new wellbeing hub and/or would like to attend the Margate FC vs Canvey Island game on February 17 contact Karen by emailing [email protected]

Find the survey at https://eastkentmind.org.uk/armed-forces-connector-survey/

There is also a new Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Clubs portal with access to over 450 AFVBC clubs worldwide. Find your nearest AFVBC https://www.afvbc.NET

5 Comments

    • You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.
      The Armed Forces are quick enough to spend time and considerable sums of money on turning young men and women into soldiers, sailors and aircrew.
      Those of my acquaintance served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. There they experienced first hand the most appalling of circumstances, affecting them sometimes physically, often mentally.
      Then, when they’ve finished their commitment, they’re given a couple of weeks acclimatisation to civilian life, then booted out, all too often, onto the street.
      Sometimes the physical scars heal. Often, the mental scars are hidden for too long.
      What a shame that support for the ex military relies so much on charity.

    • I think you are reflecting a common misconception based on the fact that there was a period of time in the 60’s to the 80’s where, on the face of it, the UK military weren’t involved in traditional fighting wars but, nevertheless, were deployed for long stretches abroad and potentially away from families, in large numbers, in places like West Germany – which brought its own pressures in that they were the thin green line against the first wave of Soviet conventional forces.

      Anyway, the image of the grey-haired old veteran who never faced a shot in anger no longer exists. Take a 60 YO veteran. Lets assume he/she joined at 18 and did their 22 years. They would have served between 1982 and 2004. In that time they could have bees deployed to Northern Ireland, The Falklands, The Gulf War, Iraq (twice), Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Sierra Leone – maybe for multiple tours in some of these. It is easy to lose track of the history when you live through it.

  1. Real world ,get in the real world, you don’t know what your talking about .As an ex squaddie,your words fail me, with your knowledge of the armed forces. You are just a keyboard warrior

Comments are closed.