A SCHEME which offers support to armed forces personnel at Airedale Hospital is going from strength to strength.

Martin Flint-Johnson joined Airedale NHS Foundation Trust as armed forces advocate in November, 2022.

His role involves identifying and speaking with any serving or former members of the forces who come into the Steeton hospital – including patients, visitors and staff, and their immediate families – to see if they require any additional help.

In his first year alone, Martin – an ex-serviceman himself – supported over 200 people.

Earlier this year, he launched 'Brew Up' events, which anyone with military connections can attend.

Participants enjoy free cuppas and cake, and a chat.

The latest Brew Up takes place in the comfortable seating area of the restaurant – location C30 – at the hospital on Wednesday, May 15, between 9.30am and 10.30am.

Martin says: "The Brew Up is about getting together, sharing stories and giving a bit of support or advice if it’s needed – along with some forces chat.

"Anyone who’s served can stop by and find some friendly faces and a bit of company. It’s also about getting to know people in the community.

"The Brew Ups started in January and there is now a regular number of veterans and their families come along to chat and support each other. Staff veterans also regularly attend from the navy and RAF, to join in and offer support."

Martin served in the army – with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers – for ten years, on both active service and peacekeeping tours around the world.

He is now in receipt of a war disability pension for physical ailments which arose from his service.

And he received support from the Hidden Wounds service for his mental health, which he says provided him with a good understanding of the challenges some people from the armed forces community may experience.

His role is supported by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, which has provided joint funding with NHS England. The NHS awarded almost £2 million in 2021 to help support ex-armed forces personnel in acute hospital settings throughout the UK.

As well as offering support, Martin has also been raising the profile of the armed forces by training staff in relation to veteran-specific needs.

Further information about his role and support on offer can be obtained by emailing martin.flint-johnson@nhs.net, calling 07880 441352 or visiting airedale-trust.nhs.uk/service/armed-forces-advocate