The long-term societal effects of the Covid-19 lockdown are only just being understood. What is indisputable is that the lockdown has profoundly affected our behaviour, with long-term implications for our children, the way we socialise, how we communicate and how we help each other.
Community-based support has never been more important; the long-term effects of the lockdown and the isolation imposed on society have been compounded with the cost of living crisis, the war in Ukraine, and a preference to communicate by social media and through call centres, rather than face to face with compassion and kindness.
For the Emergency Service workers at the 'disaster' frontline nothing has become easier over the last year or so. It has, in fact, become much harder as stress, the cost of living, the implications of the war in Ukraine have impacted everyone's lives.
We know that those currently serving in the police, fire brigade, and on the ambulances use foodbanks to get by and desperately need support and respite from dealing with day to day trauma. And we know also, of those who have retired, who have complex needs and were fortunate enough to be supported by FirstLight Trust through the donations you have provided us with. We have one such individual below:
Veteran S is a male retired Police constable aged 60 - 70 years
Veteran S was recommended to us by a patron of FirstLight Trust and asked for assistance with his Benefits and help to overcome the financial and mental health consequences from his benefits being stopped.
Veteran S had been alerted by his local housing officer that his receipt of Personal Independence payment had been stopped resulting in arreas of his weekly rent payment and council tax. The council had been unable to assist them on why this had happened or how to get this payment reinstated, but just advised them to set up a payment plan to repay the arrears, otherwise they could be involved in court action and evicted..
Veteran S only income was his Pension and PIP and with the latter being stopped, it could have resulted in them going into debt and losing their social housing.
FirstLight Trust was able to talk to Veteran S and reassure him that a support pathway could be put in place which allayed his distress and assisted with understanding the process of a disagreed benefit decision and its progress to tribunal with a potentially lengthy wait for an outcome. To alleviate Veteran S's distress a financially managed pathway of support was put in place.Veteran S was informed on how to budget his money and the repayments of housing arrears, without falling further into debt.
Veteran S had been diagnosed with Complex PTSD after leaving the forces due to the day-to-day trauma of incidents and accidents seen on their shifts as part of traffic police section. The stress, anxiety and worry over his financial situation and the debt has resulted in Veteran S mental state declining and the necessity of referring himself back to his GP for further health guidance. Veteran S has FirstLight Trust's full support is this, and he is aware of additional support and activities available to them, but choosing for the moment to stay focused on his finances and becoming stable.
The outcome is currently ongoing whilst they await the decision of their appeal.
Veteran S stated “I’m grateful for the time that you have given to me and unsure of what I could have done without getting more into debt or even homeless.”
Please help us to continue doing this wonderful work. Help us make the difference to their lives that so many Emergency Service veterans have made to ours. Every single donation helps.