VETERANS from Allerdale and Copeland will be able to receive additional support as a result of a new befriending programme.

It will be funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

Member of the Carlisle veterans hub have now been asked if they can help with ideas about ways they can be supported.

A spokesman for the group said: “We are sourcing some funding to look at providing some classes and events. So we would like to target activities that fall in line with aims of the project and veterans would find beneficial.

"We are looking at ideas from you, the veteran."

Age UK West Cumbria has appointed two new veterans’ connectors to help isolated and vulnerable older veterans and also their carers and family. Help will range from advice and one to one support, to connecting people into activity and friendship groups, like walking football and breakfast groups.

Age UK West Cumbria’s Alan Irwin said: “We recognise that those who have served our country in the forces are more likely to struggle in later life, due to challenges to mental and physical health, as well as employment and re-adjustment to civilian life.

“This project is about helping veterans build confidence to go out and forge their own relationships and interests as they come out of lockdown. Our connectors will work to find those people who consistently fall through the net, providing individual support. Their ultimate aim will be to see veterans who no longer need their help due to them being healthier, more active and more confident.”

The programme officers will work to find and help veterans in need, specifically those who have been feeling lonely as a result of Covid-19 lockdowns, connecting them into new friendship networks, as well as other forms of support.

Mark Armstrong is one of the Veteran’s Connectors and he himself served most of his working life in the army. He said: “I joined the army in 1983 and served most of my career until retiring in 2019. I had no intention of working again until I saw the position as a Veterans Connection Officer with Age UK advertised and jumped at the chance of helping my fellow military veterans.”