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The Council continues to build upon its on-going relationship with the Armed Forces community, past and present. 

Council Leader, Councillor Andrew Morgan, and Deputy Leader and Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Maureen Webber, recently visited the Valley Veterans group, which meets at Fernhill Community Centre every Monday (excluding Bank Holidays) from 10am until 12.30pm. 

Among the varied issues discussed included plans for the new Cynon Valley War Memorial and the Council’s new online Veteran Advice Service, which the Council launched at a recent Valley Veterans meeting, which takes place every Thursday at Ton and Gelli Community Centre, Ton Pentre. 

Providing FREE, impartial and dedicated information, advice and support, former members of the Armed Forces, Past and Present, can speak to dedicated officers in strict confidence. The Council’s newly-appointed Veterans Advice Officer Jamie Ireland also attends the meetings at regular intervals. 

The Council’s Veteran Advice Service

David Warner, who saw active service with the South Wales Borderers and The Royal Welch Fusiliers, is delighted that online services are now available, but is concerned that not all servicemen and women, past and present, know what they are entitled to claim. He also says groups like Valley Veterans provide a vital link to communities. 

Mr Warner, who lives in the Cynon Valley, said: “Over the years I have been able to help many ex-Service personnel with pension claims – many don’t even know that they are entitled to a pension review. Others don’t claim what they are entitled to for many reasons. Some are even too proud to come forward and ask for help.” 

Valleys Veterans is run by former Armed Forces personnel, supported by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, and meets in relaxed and friendly environments to share their stories and experiences with other members of the Armed Forces Community. 

The Valley Veterans groups, in both the Rhondda and Cynon Valleys, also offers a wide range of assistance on subjects such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Housing, Adult Social Care, Benefits, Finances and Employment. 

Council Deputy Leader and Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Maureen Webber, said: “Both myself and the Council Leader  were keen to meet this branch of the Valley Veterans in the Cynon Valley as we know they do so much good work in providing help and support to others. 

“It is distressing to hear that many of our Armed Forces do not know where to turn when they leave active service. Many feel helpless and isolated, but help is always at hand, no matter what the circumstances. 

“This County Borough is extremely proud of its strong ties with the Armed Forces, past and present, and we are delighted that our newly-launched Veteran Advice Service is being so well received. 

“It is important that we never forget the courage and bravery of all our Armed Forces personnel, past and present, at home and overseas, which is why the Council continues to expand its advice and support services to ease their transition into everyday life as we continue to not only thank them for all of their contributions, but also to support them in the present day. 

“There are many organisations supporting the Armed Forces community, so finding the right one can sometimes be complicated. The Veteran Advice Service aims to make this process as easy as possible.“ 

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council was one of the first local authorities in Wales to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant in 2012, a commitment that was reaffirmed in 2018. 

In recent years, the Local Authority has also granted the Freedom of the County Borough to The Welsh Guards and to MOD St Athan, and all local service personnel of the Royal Air Force, past and present.  

The Council also commemorated the centenary of the First World War, with many events from 2014 until 2018, as well as its annual Armed Forces Day event. 

RCT also remains to be the only Welsh Local Authority to be in receipt of the Ministry of Defence’s prestigious Gold Award in recognition of the Council’s approach to supporting the Armed Forces community locally. 

The Veteran Advice Service is available for all past and present Armed Forces personnel and their families. Email: VeteranService@rctcbc.gov.uk or call 07747 485 619 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm). 

The Valley Veterans meet every Thursday at Ton and Gelli Community Centre, Ton Pentre (from 10am until noon). They also meet at Fernhill Community Centre, Mountain Ash every Monday, excluding Bank Holidays (10am until 12.30pm). All Armed Forces personnel, past and present, are welcome.

Posted on Monday 20th May 2019

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