by Rebecca Hannant
MASH – the Military Assistance Social Hub – has held its first event in Withernsea.
On Friday, February 24, MASH held an event at the Meridian Centre after successful launches in Bridlington and Beverley. More than 30 veterans and their dependants attended the event, which will now be a fixture on the last Friday of each month.
The aim of MASH is to support the health and wellbeing of veterans in the community. Each session offers veterans and their dependants a support group that aids mental health, combats loneliness and creates friendships. The club also provides people with a range of activities.
Previously the only service available to veterans was the Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club run by Darren England. While this is well-attended, no other support networks had thus far been created in the town. With the launch of MASH, veterans now have more access to support and activities tailored to them within the community over several days.
MASH chairman Craig Leach said: “We have been planning to open a hub in Withernsea since last year after speaking with the Withernsea Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club and it’s fantastic to see it finally come to fruition.
“Withernsea and the surrounding areas have a high percentage of veterans and through this gap in the community we are aiming to target social isolation, which is prevalent among those in the veterans community.
“Through working alongside the Withernsea AFVBC we hope to be able to provide inclusive activities and events which are open to veterans, those serving, and their dependants.”
The first event was well attended and boasted a range of activities including indoor curling.
A representative of MASH, posting on Twitter, said: “It was an amazing turnout for the launch of MASH Withernsea. We had lots of fun and laughter with even more tea, coffee and biscuits. Many thanks to Cllr David Elvidge, Darren England and Withernsea Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club for your support in this.”
Darren England, who is also the president of the Withernsea branch of the Royal British Legion, added: “As a veteran here in south Holderness, beside the breakfast club there is nothing else where people like us can meet and chat over a hot drink.
“It’s great news that MASH has now started a session on the last Friday of every month. I wish them every success.”