ARMED Forces veterans and serving personnel united to kick off a £20,000 scheme run by Bradford City.
The club’s Community Foundation launched Bradford Ex Forces Together yesterday.
The session attracted more than 30 forces veterans, charity volunteers and residents and will now be held every fortnight, initially at the club.
The project aims to combat social isolation in former members of any of the Armed Forces who live in the Bradford district. The scheme will also provide days out and other social activities for those who sign up.
The project has been funded by a £20,000 grant from the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Armed Forces Covenant. This is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.
Those who attended yesterday’s session said it was important to share their experiences in the Armed Forces.
Stanley Green, 92, of Bingley, who served in the RAF during the Second World War, said: “Today is really important. It is good to get a few different organisations together as well.
“It is good to speak to people of different generations.”
Sargeant Major Simon Patrick, of the Yorkshire Regiment, said it was good for serving personnel to speak to veterans at the session and invited those who attended to a new Yorkshire Regiment and Veterans Association, at its base in Belle Vue Barracks, Manningham Lane.
He said: “Some of these veterans have great stories behind them and life experiences to bring into the community.
“For those people to get their stories out there is good. We have to remember that veterans are not just older people, they can be people who have just served too.
“This is a real opportunity to get these people together.
“Bradford is a strong recruiting ground for the British Army.”
Councillor Joanne Dodds (Lab, Great Horton), who is Bradford Council’s Armed Forces champion, said: “It’s a fantastic event. It is bringing people together.
“It is great for them to tell what they have been through and their experiences. It is good to see people talking to each other, they are buzzing.
“There are a lot of isolated people and we do need to bring them together. I think these sessions are really going to grow. It is buzzing today.”
The next session will take place on Wednesday, February 21, between 10am and 11.30am, at the 2013 Suite at Valley Parade.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place at a future session.