A thriving armed forces personnel and veterans’ group is continuing to provide wellbeing support to their local community.
The South Leicestershire Veterans Drop-In started in January 2022 and, over the past 18 months, has formed a close-knit community of like-minded people giving residents across the area a chance to attend and connect through their life experiences.
Lynne McConnachie, the county council’s Local Area Co-ordinator for the Lutterworth area, has helped the group. Local Area Co-ordinators work with residents, as well as support and strengthen local communities.
Lynne said: "It has been a pleasure working alongside the wellbeing group and see it become an integral part for the veteran community and their families.
“The banter and camaraderie in the group is fantastic to witness. The signposting, advice and guidance provided has also helped me greatly in my role when supporting veterans.“
Lynne was involved from the proposal stage, introducing the group to funding options and inviting them to host the group in the Lutterworth Sports Centre free of charge, courtesy of Harborough District Council and Everyone Active.
Meeting every Thursday, attendees are invited to socialise and share ‘banter’ in a safe space and can be directed to mental health support if needed. The South Leicestershire Veterans Drop-In also support the family and friends of those who are in, or have served in the armed forces.
Councillor Louise Richardson, cabinet member for health, said: “The opportunity to meet like-minded people who can relate to your experience is so important for the armed forces and veteran community. We are committed to supporting those who currently serve and those who have served in the past.
“It's great to see from examples like this how support networks out in Leicestershire make a difference, whilst demonstrating how valuable Local Area Co-ordinators are to their local communities.”
Peter Hollinshead and Mike Perks, founders of the group, said: “Our aim is to improve wellbeing in a proactive way, bringing together as many members of the Armed Forces and Veterans community from South Leicestershire as we can.
“We achieve this by being inclusive, encouraging attendance, meeting regularly and offering activities and talks from useful and interesting organisations and individuals.”
More information about Local Area Co-ordinators, including how to get in touch can be found on the dedicated webpage.
The South Leicestershire Veterans Drop-In also host a breakfast club every second Saturday of the month. Find out more and join them on the website – and also look out for more groups near you.