King’s Lynn charity comes to aid of lonely veterans

Mike Taylor, co-founder of a military charity The Bridge For Heroes, recently met the Prime Minister Theresa May at a reception at Number 10 Downing Street
Mike Taylor, co-founder of a military charity The Bridge For Heroes, recently met the Prime Minister Theresa May at a reception at Number 10 Downing Street

The co-founder of The Bridge for Heroes in Lynn is reassuring veterans who are experiencing feelings of loneliness that they are here to help.

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has undertaken some research into loneliness and isolation experienced by working-aged veterans in Norfolk, and discovered an alarming rate of isolation and dependency amongst younger veterans.

Their research shows more than a third of 2,007 veterans, aged between 18 to 64, reported they felt overwhelmed by negative feelings since leaving the Armed Forces and just over a quarter have experienced suicidal thoughts.

But, co-founder of The Bridge for Heroes in Lynn, Mike Taylor who served for almost 20 years is reassuring veterans in West Norfolk who are experiencing negative feelings that they are here to “offer support with any problem”.

He said: “We look after 720 veterans in King’s Lynn and we have been open for seven and a half years. We do not only help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but those who are struggling to readjust, with family problems or alcohol dependency. We deal with these issues daily.”

SSAFA say reasons for this isolation could include losing touch with friends and colleagues in the Armed Forces, physical or mental health issues, and struggling to relate to people in civilian life.

They found a third of veterans agreed that it is difficult to open up to people from a non-military background and almost a quarter admitted to struggling to fit into civilian life.

Mr Taylor added: “We are trying to push out further to help those in the small village around King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. We want to help widows who may live alone in small villages, we just need to figure out how to get there.

“Our centre is like a one stop shop and we can help people there and then. It may take 10 minutes or 10 months but, we are here to offer whatever help is needed.”

For more information about the centre, visit www.thebridgeforheroes.org/.