Welfare drop-in scheme set up for ex-service personnel

Medals worn by veterans attending last year's Remembrance Day parade in Banbury.
Medals worn by veterans attending last year's Remembrance Day parade in Banbury.

Welfare drop-in sessions for ex-servicemen and women are being organised in Banbury by the Royal British Legion.

The first Welfare Outreach session will be at Banbury Town Hall on Friday, February 28.

Thereafter the sessions will be held at the town hall on the last Friday of each month between 11am and 1pm.

They will be manned by two full-time RBL welfare representatives.

Banbury RBL chairman Chris Smithson said: “If they prove popular, we will consider increasing the frequency of the sessions, or maybe increase the hours of the monthly sessions.

“Banbury was chosen as part of the legion’s revised way of working to provide a location at which members of the public and beneficiaries can meet members of legion staff.

“The aim of the sessions is to identify and engage with the most vulnerable clients and in particular those with multiple or complex needs.”

Mr Smithson added: “A wide range of advice will be available – particularly in the areas of benefits, debt, housing and employment.

“Where appropriate, clients will be referred or signposted to other agencies.”

The Banbury branch of the RBL was aided in launching the outreach programme by a grant from Banbury Town Council. Leader of the council Kieron Mallon – who is also president of the Banbury RBL branch – said: “The sessions will be a valuable resource for former service men and women who require help or advice.

“The town council is pleased to have helped the Royal British Legion with this initiative.

“The town hall is a location that gives everyone in north Oxfordshire the opportunity to access RBL welfare advice and assistance.”

Of Oxfordshire’s population of approximately 690,000 there are 56,698 ex-servicemen and women, plus 11,000 current service personnel in the county.