Benevolent Fund to help Ballymoney’s ex-soldiers

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THE Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) Benevolent Fund is reaching out to former soldiers in Ballymoney and the surrounding areas and asking them to come forward if they have fallen on hard times and are in need of assistance.

The UDR Benevolent Fund provides welfare support services to veterans, their families and other stakeholders in the veterans’ community.

Wesley Duncan, Chairman of the UDR Benevolent Fund explains: “The Ulster Defence Regiment Benevolent Fund exists to provide assistance to former members of The Ulster Defence Regiment and their dependants who are in need because of sickness, disability, accident, infirmity, poverty or other adversity. Help can come in many different forms, for example through food vouchers, an oil fill or even a specialised bed if this is required and cannot be self-financed.

“We are trying to reach out to those who may have forgotten about us or may not have needed our help in the past. There is absolutely no cap to what we do. If required, we can even call upon the help of some of our more specialised sister organisations for further aid.

“Need can be anything from someone who has fallen on hard times and has to choose between heating and eating, to someone who is ill and needs specialist equipment to help improve the quality of their life.”

With approximately 260 serving and former UDR CGC soldiers making the ultimate sacrifice and hundreds more injured or traumatised, many continue to suffer in silence.

“In the last financial year the Fund spent over £400, 000 in supporting those former members and their dependants who were in need. People shouldn’t feel intimidated or ashamed about coming forward for assistance, “ continued Mr Duncan.

“All applications are dealt with in the strictest confidence by fully trained professional case workers who will complete all relevant paperwork on an individual’s behalf.

“We want people to come forward so that we can help them and we are asking people to take that first step in gaining assistance. From there, we can have a quick conversation and ask permission to send a caseworker to their home. The caseworkers’ knowledge and expertise is of the highest level.

“We would also call upon those, who may know a former UDR member who is in need and experiencing difficulty, for example, a family member, a neighbour, a member of their church or those in the wider community to either contact the Benevolent Fund or please pass on our relevant contact information.”

The UDR Benevolent Fund was established in 1972 to ensure those who served would be looked after in years to come. In 1992, the Regiment was confined to the history books, but this campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the range of valuable help available.

To find out more about the UDR Benevolent Fund, please phone 02890 420 137 or email office@udrbenfund.com.