To receive a presentation from representatives of The Breck Centre, Liverpool.
The meeting received a presentation from Andy Cook from the Breck Centre; he was also accompanied by his colleague Kenny Whittaker. The Breck Centre is based in Liverpool City Centre and whose patron is the Earl of Derby.
The first thing that was highlighted to the meeting was that coming into the Breck Centre for help was one of the hardest decisions that many of our ex-servicemen and women make, it is very hard for them to ask for help.
The Centre is designed to help all those veterans who need help in the Region, many of whom are homeless, have alcohol or drug related problems, have recently come out of the military and are taking the first steps back into civilian lives and need help.
He informed the meeting that there are currently 32,000 veterans in Liverpool alone. 130 of these were currently in the Criminal Justice System.
He also informed the meeting that Wirral had just set up a similar scheme.
The Centre provides a One Stop Shop for anyone who has served in the military including reservists and they are able to get help and assistance for them and their families in many ways.
He informed the meeting that they also have many other activities going on for veterans they run a Kick Start to Health Programme, they organise job fairs one of which was held at the Maritime Museum in Liverpool.
He outlined the help they had received from other organisations in getting the Breck Centre in Liverpool off the ground. He informed the meeting that they had been given 7 houses from Liverpool City Council solely for veterans.
They also have a project called New Beginnings which they were asked to undertake by Merseyside Health in Liverpool Prisons. At the outset they were awarded a grant through Lottery Funding to get this project off the ground and their aim was that they wanted to work in 6 Prisons in 3 years, this has been surpassed and they are now working in 12 Prisons in the North West.
He outlined the work that they do with the Prison Service, going into Prisons in the Region visiting ex Veterans to meet with them and prepare them for when they are released. Getting them set up with GP's, living accommodation and other essential services. He informed the meeting that the Centre was currently now active in 12 prisons in the North West supporting 183 individuals, and added that only 23 of these had reoffended. He also stated that other outside agencies can also be contacted and brought in to assist if this is needed.
They have also set up a Champion Inmate who can interact with other ex-veterans in other wings in the Prison these are known as blue banders.
Questions and queries were raised in relation to:
· The work done in prison with the Veterans
· The length of time spent with individual Veterans during prison visits
· Veterans who don’t wish to receive support
· Interaction with Custody Officer and prisoners
· How did the information filter through that they are ex forces personnel
The Chairman expressed thanks to Andy for attending the meeting and for his very informative presentation, he also added that West Lancs Ark in Skelmersdale do outreach work, and asked if this could be put on the Armed Forces page of the Council's website.
AGREED: That the presentation be noted.