11 °CTue, 13

Ely roadshows set to deliver help and support for victims

John Hooks

Reporter:

John Hooks

Email:

john.hooks@ulstergazette.co.uk

THE Ely centre is taking to the road to host a series of outreach events aimed at letting victims and survivors and security force personnel know just what support is available to them.

Kicking off in Markethill at the Old Courthouse on Wednesday November 7 at 7.30pm Ely Welfare Officers Danny Kennedy and David Taylor will be on hand to offer welfare and benefits advice to victims and survivors of The Troubles.

Meanwhile Ely’s Veterans Welfare Support Officer, Ben Higgins will also be at the outreach events to let security force veterans know what support is available to them. in terms of various grants and assistance.

The roadshows, held in conjunction with the Castlehill Foundation in Portadown, will then move on to Glenanne, Bessbrook & Newry, Tandragee & Laurelvale, Newtownhamilton, Monaghan and Castleblaney and Hamiltonsbawn & Richhill.

“There is a huge need in this area and the introduction of the Ely Centre in Markethill to serve the South Armagh and Monaghan areas has been a welcome addition,” said Danny Kennedy.

“We are not here to compete with other victims organisations, we have very good relationships with the other groups and we believe we can all complement each other with the range of services we offer for the benefit of those that need us.

“We are here to help anyone who has served in the security forces or their relatives or for anyone who has suffered trauma or been impacted by The Troubles.”

The Ely Centre’s Lee McDowell said it has been a busy time for the new team in Markethill “Since our doors opened we have really hit the ground running. Targets have been over achieved and with Danny and David now on-board we are setting ambitious targets for ourselves.”

This new outreach project funded by the Victims and Survivors Service will work in partnership and collaboratively with project partners within the victims support organisations in the South Armagh and Monaghan area to provide a complementary and much needed service for victims and veterans of the security and armed forces residing within the area.

Ben Higgins said there is a wide range of services and support available for former members of the security. “There is a tremendous amount of support out there for veterans and their families,” said Ben. “We are particularly keen to speak to older veterans, maybe someone who signed up in the 70s for example.

“We want to reach out to these people and let them know that there is support there if they need it.

“Since April this year we have administered over £40,000 in grants for everything from music lessons to support for veterans’ children going to university. The support is there and we are keen to help those people in our community who need it.”

Ely Health and Wellbeing Officers, Christine Spence and Lesley Hutton will also be attending the roadshows.

Christine is a qualified physiotherapist and Lesley comes from a background in nursing. They will be on hand to offer help and advice in health related matters and signpost people to the most appropriate services.

“We would really urge people to come along to the outreach events,” said Danny Kennedy. “We are here to help and we want to help but we need people to get in touch and start that conversation with us.”

The Ely Centre is a Registered Charity specialising in the provision of multi-disciplinary support services for civilians, security force personnel and their families, who have experienced bereavement and injury as a result of the “Troubles in Fermanagh and Tyrone.

The Ely Centre is committed to serving innocent victims and survivors, ex service personnel, their families and carers by providing evidenced based outcome focused treatments, prevention and support services that address issues of declining psychological, physical health, social and financial difficulties arising as a result of terrorism.

The outreach events will take place in Markethill Old Courthouse on Wednesday November 7 at 7.30pm, Glenanne Orange Hall on Thursday November 22 at 8pm, Besbrook & Newry event will be in Altnaveigh House on Tuesday November 27 at 7.30pm, the Tandragee & Laurelvale event will be in Tandragee Golf Club on Tuesday December 4 at 7.30pm, Newtownhamilton High School on Tuesday January 15 at 7.30pm, the Monaghan & Castleblaney event is to be confirms and the Hamiltonsbawn & Richhill event will be on Tuesday February 26 at 7.30pm in Richhill Recreation Centre.

For further information about these events and the work of Ely contact Danny Kennedy at danny@elycentre.co.uk.

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