11 Jan Letter to the Editor: Emotional support for East Anglia veterans
Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced a third national lockdown. Although necessary, these measures mean many of our veterans will be facing the next several weeks – or months – completely alone.
And while the vaccine rollout out across the country provides some hope, social isolation and loneliness poses a real threat to our elderly this winter, among them many former RAF personnel and their partners supported by the Fund.
To help combat this, last year the RAF Benevolent Fund introduced a weekly Check and Chat service to support members of the RAF Family experiencing loneliness. I speak to one such gentleman every Tuesday. He lives alone and spent much of 2020 totally isolated, and for him, this service truly is a lifeline. We chat about what he’s been up to, what he’s cooking for tea, to his time in the RAF and often I’m the only person he will speak to for days.
The Fund also facilitates weekly Telephone Friendship Groups, provides access to a Listening and Counselling Service, relationship counselling support, and an online wellbeing portal to help support emotional wellbeing amongst the veteran community.
Throughout the pandemic, many of us have learnt more about our neighbours and local community. That’s why we are calling on the people of the East of England to consider whether they know any RAF veterans, or their spouses or widows, who may be experiencing loneliness. To refer someone to the RAF Benevolent Fund, please visit rafbf.org or call 0300 102 1919.
Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot
Chief Executive, RAF Benevolent Fund