THE first dedicated veterans programme being run in Cleethorpes by CatZero is being hailed a success by ex-serviceman Steve Sanigar.
Steve is one of a group of ex-military personnel who are part-way through the Veterans programme. Attended by a mixture of south and north bank participants, it is based at The Knoll in Cleethorpes – taking unemployed veterans on a journey of discovery as they look to focus their lives again.
Undertaking various vocational qualifications, they also participate in numerous team-building events, volunteering and an eight-day sailing adventure on board our ‘floating classroom’ – our 72ft round-the-world challenge yacht.
On the course’s completion, the veterans continue to receive support from us, with our progression team helping with CV writing, in responding to job and volunteering opportunities as well as the long-term holistic support that is needed for the veterans of our region.
As part of the team-building and skills’ activities, a Cleethorpes café day was planned, organised and delivered by the veterans. Attended by guests, including North East Lincolnshire Deputy Mayor David Hasthorpe and representatives from supporters the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, JobCentre Plus a three-course lunch was served at the Kings Baptist Church. The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund also supports the programme.
Steve enjoyed his chef’s role for the day and went on to praise the work of CatZero. In the army’s Royal Anglian Regiment, Steve, from Grimsby, had planned a services’ career but an injury left him blind in one eye and he had to leave in 1978 after just two years. Long spells of work followed, but in recent years unemployment following an injury has seen his confidence dip. Now, however, he is looking to the future with more confidence and motivation.
“This course has given me my sense of respect back, given me the confidence that I had lost. There’s nothing that’s going to put me back again,” said Steve.
Joyce Davies is Armed Forces rep at Grimsby’s JobCentre Plus and referred some of the participants onto the programme. While recognising that the majority of those who leave the services do so successfully, she said it was vital that those who did need help, were supported.
“There are certainly barriers to former personnel in getting back into work. Identifying transferrable skills, housing and post-traumatic stress disorder at the earliest opportunity is key to us providing the appropriate help and support locally,” said Joyce.
Deputy Mayor Cllr David Hasthorpe said: “The lunch was first class, and it was great to hear of the journey that is being undertaken by all here and the scope and range of work carried out by CatZero.”
Programme manager Pete Tighe thanked all at The Knoll and the Baptist Church for opening their doors to assist the veterans’ work, adding: “This course allows its participants to look at where they are now, and where they want to be and how we can support them, they are already seeing the change in themselves.”