Proud Hartlepool Council is supporting the Armed Forces Covenant - Mike Hill MP
Here in Hartlepool we have always proudly supported the armed forces and our veterans.
Hartlepool men and women have been involved in many wars and conflicts over the years, and they continue to serve in the ranks of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.
Our modern day veterans are relatively young people; having served in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.
Some, like my good friend Tony, have successfully made the transition into civilian life and developed good careers (Tony is a paramedic), but others have sadly fallen through the net.
When they do it is incumbent on us all to do what we can to help them.
Far too many of them will have encountered unimaginable horrors in the field, or been injured and discharged on medical grounds.
Far too many also end up in need, often homeless and finding it hard to adjust to life outside the military.
The Royal British Legion and many other organisations like the Royal Navy Association have always been there for them, but the emergence of more recent Charities, like Help for Heroes, has helped increase public awareness of some of the issues faced by veterans, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
Of course such things have been around for a long time, indeed PTSD was first identified as ‘Shell Shock’ during the First World War.
But whereas it was vastly misunderstood then, and even led to executions for soliders for cowardice, so today society really does need to to understand the trauma of military life in conflict zones and the disorientation and pressures placed on people leaving the forces and returning to civilian life.
That is why I’m proud that Hartlepool Council signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant a long while ago.
The Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.
It is a pledge that together we acknowledge and understand that those who serve or have served should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives.
On a different note, I was pleased to meet with representatives from CAFOD in Parliament Square who had trekked all the way down from Hartlepool to make their voices heard in the Time Is Now Climate Event.
I had a really engaging chat with them and the point they raised was absolutely right; we must act now. Parliament recently declared a climate emergency but once you’ve declared an emergency, you must deal with that emergency.
It’s time for a new Environment Act that actually works towards solving the problem, we don’t another sticking plaster.
Catch up with past columns from Hartlepool’s MP, Mike Hill, by going to our website – www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk