Gateway Digest

September 2012Posted Tuesday 28th August 2012

Hello and welcome to the second edition of Gateway Digest, a regular round-up that brings you a taste of local and national developments in health and social care.

In this edition…

  • New veterans service supporting ex-service personnel and their families
  • Local news and events

New veterans service supporting ex-service personnel and their families

The North West of England is the largest recruitment ground for the British Armed Forces, and there are over 22,000 ex-service men and women in St Helens and Halton. The transition from life in the Armed Forces to that of a ‘civvy’ is full of challenges. These challenges can be emotional (such as dealing with an addiction) or practical (like finding employment or somewhere to live) and they can take many years to overcome.

Live At-Ease is a new programme that offers free one-to-one support to all ex-service personnel and their families to deal with issues that have occurred during or after spending time in the Armed Forces. Over the years, clinical service providers have noticed that there are many other issues that ex-military personnel come up against – relationship breakdown, housing issues, unemployment, drug and alcohol addiction and money management problems. It is widely acknowledged that mental health needs can’t be met if support isn’t in place to help with these other non-clinical issues.

Live at Ease can help with:

  • Drug and alcohol dependence
  • Family breakdown
  • Training and jobs
  • Money management
  • Housing

Live At-Ease works with existing Armed Forces organisations and charities, voluntary organisations, NHS and Probation services to join them together and provide the most effective support. Each client has a dedicated caseworker who puts a support plan together and who is there throughout the client’s time with Live At-Ease to ensure they get exactly the right support.

Anyone who has ever served in the armed forces and who lives in the North West can use Live At-Ease. They can be any age and could have left the military yesterday or 40 years ago. The programme is also available to the families of ex-service personnel. For more information about Live At-Ease please contact 0808 123 1123, email [email protected] or visit their website at

Local news and events

  • In October the Pride of St Helens Awards are taking place for the first time, celebrating the best of St Helens, including outstanding achievers and those who have succeeded in the face of adversity. Nominations are currently being accepted across eleven separate categories that include Community Hero, Mentor of the Year and Courage Award. Nominees should either live, work or have been born in the St Helens area and entries can be made online or via the St Helens Star.
  • Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre are holding their annual coffee morning on the 28th September at 9.30am at the Spice of Life café (St Helens Hospital) – last year was a great success and this year is promised to be bigger and better. Macmillan are also running HOPE (Helping to Overcome Problems Effectively) courses for survivors of cancer – the 2.5 hour sessions run over seven weeks and is a free course that looks at ways in which you can help manage the day-to-day impact of living with cancer. For more information please contact Julie or Peter on 647 000 or 646 985.
  • Reflections’ Art in Health charity launched a fundraising initiative this summer called ‘Park Art’ – a series of co-ordinated events across NHS mental health Trusts celebrating the visual and performing arts. 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will be hosting an event in the grounds of Hollins Park Hospital at Winwick, Warrington on Sunday 16 September from 12pm to 4pm; the event will include performances of music and poetry, public access to artwork and poetry displayed in the hospital, a photography exhibition and sale of work, refreshments for sale from the De-La-Mare Restaurant and a sponsored walk around the recently developed 1km Health and Well-being Trail which circles the grounds. For more information about this event please contact Duncan Barber on 01925 664 043 or email [email protected]
  • The next meeting of the St Helens & District group of Diabetes UK will be on Wednesday 5th September at 7.30pm in the Town Hall. The guest speaker for this session is Suzanne Keigan from the Diabetes Unit at St Helens Hospital, and for further information about the group please contact C Bowmaker on 0151 480 0821
  • Willowbrook Hospice are marking their 15th anniversary year with a 5k walk up to the Dream sculpture on Saturday 29th September. Starting at the Smithy Manor, you can join the guided walk around the site and up to the Dream, guided by ex-miner and Dream-maker Gary Conley, who will talk about the rich heritage and history of the site and how the Dream was achieved. There will also be a Dream Fair running from 11am, with stalls and games, heritage displays, craft sessions and refreshments. For more information and a registration form for the walk, please contact 01744 453 798.

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