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Special video to celebrate Project 360 for Armed Forces Day

Project 360° has launched a special video celebrating its achievements, and its legacy of support for military veterans living in Wales, ahead of Armed Forces Day on 26 June 2021.

Project 360° was a national partnership project between Age Cymru, Woody’s Lodge and Age Alliance Wales to benefit military veterans in Wales aged 65 or over.  Funded by the Aged Veterans Fund, it ran for three years until June 2020. The aim of the project was to improve the services provided to older veterans through the project partners, while keeping older military veterans at the heart of the process. During the three year period Project 360° supported an astonishing 12,212 older veterans across Wales, with much of the support based on in-depth research with more than a 1,000 veterans.

The film focuses particularly on the work of Woody’s Lodge which supported 5,672 older veterans during the three years at its eleven support hubs spread across north, south and west Wales. Employing support officers to help with form filling, Woody’s Lodge enabled veterans to access financial benefits worth £320,000 in backdated payments. The officers also helped with health and welfare support for the veterans.

The film also highlights the ways in which the Project worked with non-military organisations to help them understand how best to support veterans, many of whom can be reluctant to engage with civilian agencies.  It delivered an Armed Forces Community Training package to 353 staff members at Age Alliance Wales, provided grants worth a total of £100,000 to seven Age Alliance projects supporting veterans and developed a number of resources to help organisations engage with older veterans.

Despite being a three year project, much of Project 360’s work will leave a legacy of support for older veterans and the organisations that want to support them. Twenty Age Alliance Wales organisations now ask ‘Did you serve in the Armed Forces?’ in data collection processes to help identify veterans while five grant-funded projects gained further funding to continue their work with older veterans beyond the project’s lifespan.  The project also launched an awareness campaign to help increase uptake of Armed Forces pensions and War Pensions that was featured on BBC Wales news and in the Financial Times.

Age Cymru’s chief executive Victoria Lloyd says: “Project 360° has changed the landscape for many older veterans in Wales seeking support from health and social services, including organisations in the third sector.  In the past many organisations would not know that the older people seeking their support were veterans and therefore may need a more tailored form of support.

“At the same time many veterans would not seek support because they may have felt that their unique conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorders, would not be understood by service providers.  Hopefully, the work of Project 360° will help bridge the gap between older veterans needing support and the organisations that are able to provide such support for many years to come.

Dr David Trotman, Woody’s Lodge Board of Trustees chairman says:  “We were absolutely delighted to be a part of Project 360 enabling us to work with Partners Age Cymru and Age Alliance Wales, it has given us the opportunity to develop a significant platform to help our senior veterans across Wales, enabling us to continue and extend our support work for the future”.