Local Andover Alliance campaigners have come out in protest over the poor treatment of our Armed Forces Veterans, both locally and nationally. Mrs Irene Williams said ‘As the Stepmother of a veteran of at least eight tours of duty who’s suffering with PTSD and still battling with the Government, I fully support this campaign.’
Despite Andover being the Home of the British Army HQ and with nearby Middle Wallop (Army Aviation) and many other military facilities, TVBC was recently called the worst Council in the UK to help with veterans affairs, by David Wood, Legislation Officer for national charity Help 4 Homeless Veterans.
Andover has a large number of veterans in our community and can often have issues being housed after they leave the forces, especially those suffering from physical and mental health issues, who are unable to work. Veterans homelessness is a problem across the UK, with some sources claiming as many as 13,000 ex-service personnel are living rough.
David Wood said, ‘We’ve had a number of problems with TVBC, in particular, because they have refused to get a veteran into accommodation. It’s so bad that after 6 months dealing with TVBC, this veteran is now being housed by Wiltshire Council.’
More than just housing is needed; timely and specialist mental health is desperately required. In 2018, 78 serving military personnel and veterans took their own lives following mental health struggles, exceeding the number of battlefield fatalities in 11 of the 13 years that British troops were in Afghanistan.
Jordan Wylie, Army veteran and star of Channel 4’s reality show Hunted, saw several friends killed while serving with the King’s Royal Hussars and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Jordan said, ‘For me, we are failing our own people. We are failing the British troops that have served this great nation. It is an absolute tragedy that veteran suicides are happening.’ David Coole, Army veteran and Andover Alliance spokesperson said ‘Given our local military history, TVBC should be the best Council in the UK for supporting our veterans, not the worst.
The Andover Alliance is committed to supporting those who served in times of war, military conflict and peace and will provide the leadership for veterans affairs where all levels of local and national government have failed those who have served our country.’
In their Manifesto the Andover Alliance wants to introduce a Veterans Officer (VO) as a paid role within TVBC who will be an advocate for any veteran presenting an issue, will ensure veterans receive the top housing priority and will support both community and work based programmes that improve greater community integration and employment opportunities.