Determined cadet Faye makes strides to support Change Step

Determined cadet Faye makes strides to support Change Step

Faye presents £300 to Change Step director Geraint Jones, watched by mum Jane (left) and Holywell platoon leader Lt Dave Collinge A TEENAGE ARMY cadet who tackled a 40-mile hike across the North Yorkshire Moors — twice — has donated £300 to Change Step. Faye Beck, from Holywell, raised the cash by completing the exposed Lyke Wake Walk from Osmotherly to Ravenscar on one of the hottest days of the year this June. The determined 16-year-old reached the finish post in just over 15 hours, but had to be checked over by doctors after suffering sunburn and exhaustion in the sweltering heat. Undaunted, she returned to Yorkshire to complete the feat of endurance a second time — accompanying her aunt on an overnight effort in August.   “Really difficult” Faye, a cadet corporal in the Holywell detachment of the Clwyd and Gwynedd Army Cadet Force, studies motor mechanics at Coleg Cambria Deeside.  She hopes to join the Royal Engineers as a HGV recovery mechanic.  “The actual walk wasn’t that bad, but the conditions and the weather made it really difficult,” Faye said. “I saw an article about Change Step in the newspaper and decided I would like to support a military charity which really helps people locally.  I’d like to thank everyone who sponsored me for their support.” The Lyke Wake Walk was created in 1955 as challenge for walkers.  It is also known as the Coffin Walk because of the many burial mounds found along the route   “Supreme effort” Change Step director Geraint Jones thanked Faye for her efforts. “We’re lucky to have a large number of...
Health board backing for North Wales armed forces veterans

Health board backing for North Wales armed forces veterans

Mike Bellfield AN INNOVATIVE collaboration is enabling armed forces veterans and their families in North Wales to receive the full range of support they need. The unique peer mentor partnership between Veterans NHS Wales and Change Step is the first of its kind in the UK, and has been made possible thanks to funding from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. For the past six months, two North Wales Veterans NHS Therapists have been supported by Mike Bellfield and his fellow veteran Kevin Hackett, who provide a peer mentoring service to veterans, as well as low-level therapeutic interventions, and support for veterans before, during and after treatment.   Quick and effective They also provide advice on matters such as emergency funding, armed forces compensation, benefits and other financial matters, as well as employment support and training, and housing and accommodation solutions. Advice and help with requests for assistance from other forces charities in North Wales is also provided – maximising the range of support available. Their efforts are already allowing Veterans NHS Wales therapists to intervene more quickly and effectively. Mike, from Kinmel Bay, who served with the Royal Engineers for 18 years, was deployed to numerous combat zones and developed symptoms which included nightmares and sleep phobia when he left the Army in 2000.   Experience Kevin, from Wrexham, served for 12 years in the Royal Navy and witnessed first-hand how combat can affect colleagues both physically and mentally. “Experience shows that having the confidence to openly talk about things that you’ve never fully disclosed before can feel strange and taking those first steps to seek help are the...
RBL funding to support veterans in crisis

RBL funding to support veterans in crisis

FUNDING FROM the Royal British Legion will help leading veterans support service Change Step provide vital help for ex-forces personnel in crisis. A grant of from the Legion’s External Grants programme will allow Change Step to provide dedicated crisis management mentors working across Wales. Change Step director Geraint Jones said the funding was a timely – and very welcome – boost. “This support from the Royal British Legion will enable dedicated crisis management mentors to provide peer support to veterans in Wales, and specifically to veterans unable to access other services due to co-occurring mental health and substance misuse issues, and any associated psychological and social problems,” he said.   Responsive, flexible and holistic “Barriers to access often lead to frustration, anger and isolation – but this backing will enable Change Step to help those veterans who currently fall between the gaps in other services. “Our record shows that we deliver responsive, flexible and holistic veteran-to-veteran support, according to need. In doing so, we relieve the pressure on police, health services and other statutory and non-statutory services.” Delivered by veterans for veterans, Change Step provides peer mentoring for former members of the forces and reservists throughout Wales. The organisation has supported around 1,200 veterans and their families across Wales since being launched in 2014, and has been hailed as a “best-in-class” and “value for money” service by the respected Forces in Mind Trust.   Effective interventions for mental health The new funding enables Change Step to continue to deliver effective interventions with many of our most vulnerable former servicemen and women. Over the last four years, the service has...
Mess tin lunch for RBL riders

Mess tin lunch for RBL riders

MOTORCYCLING MEMBERS of the Royal British Legion toured North Wales to help launch this year’s poppy appeal – then enjoyed a mess tin lunch at Llandudno’s Troop Café veterans’ hub. Dozens of the RBL Riders visited war memorials in Wrexham, Bala, Porthmadog, Caernarfon and Llandudno on Sunday, holding a short service at each as part of their annual remembrance rally. The group – made up of members from the North West and North Wales branches – had already toured Port Sunlight, Little Sutton, Wilmslow, Crewe and Northwich as part of their annual event.   “Bit of a spectacle” Barbara Hignett said she and her fellow motorcyclists enjoyed promoting the annual poppy appeal and fundraising in support of the Royal British Legion. “We do it all for the poppy appeal – and we try to raise awareness and raise much as we can to help,” she said.  “We try to finish in Llandudno if we can, because everyone likes heading along the prom and making a bit of a spectacle!” Troop Café supervisor Paula Jacobs said hosting a chicken stew lunch for the group had made for a “great day”. “We’ve had lots of good feedback, and it was really positive to meet and speak with so many of the riders,” she said   Worldwide organisation The visit was hosted by the North Wales district of the RBL, and attended by Mayor of Llandudno Cllr Francis Davies. “The riders are a worldwide organisation and raise thousands of pounds for the Royal British Legion,” said chairman Peter Kingston. Run by the award-winning CAIS Social Enterprises, community veterans’ hub Troop Café hosts...
New Change Step project manager appointed

New Change Step project manager appointed

Simon Frith CHANGE STEP HAS appointed long-serving peer mentor Simon Frith as our new project manager. Simon, who had previously worked as a veteran peer mentor based in Cardigan, will now lead the delivery of our programme of services across Wales. He has been with Change Step since 2014 – drawing on real-life experience earned during seven years in the Royal Navy.   Delights and consequences “Having joined HMS Raleigh for basic training in late 1991, I soon found the delights of assault courses with a layer of ice – and the consequences of accidentally calling your training officer mate by mistake,” Simon said. “By the time I joined my first Destroyer some months later, I was a great deal fitter and a lot more disciplined.  I was fortunate to deploy to some amazing parts of the world. “Later, a recommendation to transfer to the small ships fleet look me on to HMS Brecon and my fondest memories of the Royal Navy. “I love being part of the team at Change Step, and getting to work with some of the amazing organisations working in veterans’ services in Wales.”   Support and leadership Change Step director Geraint Jones said he was pleased to be able to welcome someone of Simon’s calibre to the role, welcomed him to his new post. “Simon will provide support and leadership to mentors working on our projects throughout Wales, nurture existing partnerships, and help us to develop new ones,” Geraint said. “Most importantly, he’ll help to raise awareness of what Change Step can do – and work alongside our stakeholders to ensure that together we...