FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dave Anderson MP of Blaydon has been shortlisted under the Social Driver category for the 2nd Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award. The award recognises UK-based politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business overall. The MP is nominated for his continued support for Forward Assist, a charity dedicated to offering support and guidance to former servicemen and women experiencing difficulties in adjusting to civilian life.
Like many others, Mr Anderson was under the mistaken belief that former service personnel were looked after by the Ministry of Defence after leaving the services. His participation with several meetings with the veterans, assisted by Forward Assist, made him see how disadvantaged returning veterans were integrating into the civilian community. Young veterans as young as 18 were experiencing homelessness, social exclusion, mental health difficulties, social isolation or had involvement with the Criminal Justice System as a result of multiple and complex unmet needs. For example, many veterans suffer from undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and as a result, may self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.
Since then, Mr Anderson has championed the cause of this disenfranchised group, adopting a proactive ‘problem-solving’ approach to the issues raised by veterans accessing the services of Forward Assist. His direct intervention has led to many veterans being given life changing opportunities such as the establishment of the Veterans International Exchange Programme that allows veterans from the UK and USA to take part in a cultural exchange programme. The MP has also been very active in motivating veterans to becoming Veteran Mentors in assisting prison staff to support and signpost veterans to correct support services. This training programme recently accredited 13 veterans with qualifications which undoubtedly would help to increase their self-esteem and reduce the risk of them offending further after their release into the community.
As one veteran said, “I had begun to lose faith in politics and politicians after the expenses scandal but that stopped when I met the MP Dave Anderson. He is an honourable man who is prepared to use his influence and position to assist those in need of support.”
Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “The award illustrates that we do have government representatives that actively work on meeting the people’s needs and we must focus on bringing more positive role models into society and diminish negative news - that is the grassroot diplomacy way”.
Join Dave Anderson and other government nominees at The Mayfair Hotel, London on Thursday 15th May 2014 where the awards ceremony will be hosted by TV Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos. For ticket information please visit: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/awards.