North West Wales

Veterans' charity Change Step runs out of funding

Soldiers Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption PTSD can arise from distressing events experienced during military combat

A Welsh veterans' charity, awarded almost £1m three years ago, has announced it has run out of funds.

Change Step, based in Colwyn Bay, Conwy county, said 29 workers would lose their jobs following an unsuccessful bid for further funding.

The charity said it was still "determined to carry on".

The Ministry of Defence, which awarded the charity £995,918 in 2013, said it could apply for further funding "in the coming months and years".

About 1,000 veterans and their families have been supported by the charity's team of veteran peer mentors, dealing with mental health issues, loneliness, welfare or addiction problems.

'Enormous difference'

Nikki Hester, of Cwmbran, Torfaen, served as a nurse in the first Gulf War in 1991 and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

She said: "I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for them. I am really worried.

"It makes an enormous difference to know the peer mentors have been through what I've been through. I feel so good after they've been to see me. It makes me feel human.

"It is the only charity in Wales doing this kind of work. It will be a huge blow to Wales in so many ways."

'Exhaustive efforts'

Director Geraint Jones said Change Step was talking to its partners and stakeholders about the way forward.

"The project was initially funded by the Armed Forces Covenant fund, which redistributed the proceeds from fines paid by UK banks," he said.

"That funding has now come to an end and, despite exhaustive efforts on our part, we have not been able to secure the additional finance we need to continue our work in its present form.

"We are determined to carry on one way or another and are overwhelmed by the goodwill and support we have been shown by our friends and colleagues."

An MoD spokesman said it could not comment on individual cases but added: "Decisions on grants are made by a national panel and there is further opportunity to apply for funding in the coming months and years."

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