Latest news from our Armed Forces Advocate
Organisations support veterans coffee mornings
The James Paget would like to say a big thank you to two organisations that have made donations to support our Veterans Coffee and Information Mornings.
The coffee morning events are held roughly every two months in the Louise Hamilton Centre on our hospital site and the funding of £500 from the Great Yarmouth Branch of the Royal British Legion and £300 from Bus Industrial Tools, based on South Beach Parade in Great Yarmouth, means events in 2024 can continue to be well supported.
Our Armed Forces Advocate Chris Blyth says; “These Coffee morning have proven very important to our local Veteran community with the last two events each seeing over 60 veterans and family members attend. These kind donations help provide food and hot drinks for all attendees and ensure these events can continue throughout 2024. We currently have five more events planned this year with the next one taking place on Wednesday 27th March.
“A number of organisations also attend the events including RBL, SSAFA, WWTW, RAFB, RNA and Op Courage to provide information and support to these who need it.”
Thank you to Bus Industrial Tools and the team at the Royal British Legion in Great Yarmouth for your support – it is much appreciated.
Veterans HABIT survey
The Veterans' Habit Study is a UK Veterans research project that aims to discover the destructive attitudes and behaviours leading to dysfunction and addictions, primarily gambling addiction. The study is focusing on understanding patterns and cause to develop future preventative or intervention measures within the British Armed Force and MOD.
If you are a veteran or know someone who is struggling with addiction you are invited to find out more by visiting the study website; https://www.vhabit.co.uk/
To complete the survey, please click on the image below for a PDF version of the poster, which has an active link to take you to the survey.
Coffee morning sees large attendance & poppy presentation
Our latest Veterans Coffee Morning has proved a huge success, with perhaps the biggest attendance since the events started a year ago.
The event, yesterday, also saw the handover of a beautiful new addition to our hospital safe garden – two trellises covered in knitted poppies. This has been created by Jean Sherwood, from Hemsby, who knitted 365 poppies, one for each day of the year, as a tribute to a friend. The two trellises, which were constructed by Jean’s other half David and Terry Byrne, will now be positioned in the safe garden, which was created in one of our hospital courtyards to provide a safe open space for veteran patients and those living with dementia, autism and learning disabilities, and their families.
Jean is pictured here with our Armed Forces Advocate Chris Blyth with the trellises.
Chris has now organised more dates for coffee morning events in 2024 and anyone who has served is welcome to attend any of these dates; 17 January, 27 March, 15 May, 26 June, 18 September and 13 November.
As usual, these will be held on a Wednesday between 11am and 2pm and will include light buffet refreshments.
We’d like to thank all those who have attended events during 2023 and also thank our Project Search team, who have supported the serving of refreshments at the coffee mornings, and Top Body Gym in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth Borough Council who have funded the events.
Paget receives Gold Award recognition
On 28th September our Chief Nurse Paul Morris and Armed Forces Advocate Chris Blyth were invited to the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold awards evening to accept the Gold award on behalf of the Trust.
The evening took place at the Churchill War rooms in London and included all 11 Gold Award organisations in East Anglia.
Chris said; “This award recognises the Trust’s ongoing support to the local Armed Forces community, something which we are very proud of and will continue to build on in the future.”
You can read more about the award here; https://www.jpaget.nhs.uk/news-media/news-events/2023/july/paget-secures-gold-award/
Veterans Aware best practice conference
On Wednesday 20th September 2023 our Armed Forces Advocate Chris Blyth attended the Veterans Aware best practice conference in London.
The aim was to celebrate what has been achieved together, and develop, share and drive the implementation of best practice that will improve our Armed Forces Community healthcare, while at the same discussing new ideas.
Guest speakers including Rt Hon Johnny Mercer MP (Minister for Veterans affairs) and Katie Davies CBE (NHS England) spoke about challenges that face veterans in the NHS and areas of best practice that had been identified to overcome these.
Chris said; “It was a really good event and interesting to find out new services that are available to support our veterans.”
Ejiro and Katie take part in military leadership exercise
As a supportive employer of the Reserve Forces, the Trust was offered the exclusive opportunity to have two employees attend a one-day military leadership exercise – Future Leader.
On 13 July two members of staff - Discharge Pharmacist & Clinical Pharmacist Ejiro and Anatomical Pathology Technologist Katie - were selected to attend Exercise Future Leader 2023. The aim of the day was to introduce attendees the way the Army teaches leadership with a focus on theory and practical application.
Taking place at the Royal Norfolk Showground, both members of staff had a fantastic day and really enjoyed the experience.
Paget secures prestigious Gold Award
The James Paget has been awarded a prestigious Gold Award in the 2023 Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme – one of just 11 employers in East Anglia to win a Gold Award.
Coffee morning success
Continuing with our celebrations in Armed Forces week, another successful veterans coffee morning was held on Wednesday, 21 June, run by our Armed Forces Advocate, Chris Blyth.
Thank you to all the organisations that attended and offered support and information, and all those who helped with running the event.
We would also like to thank everyone that attended the event, and hope to see you at the next veterans coffee morning on Wednesday 13th September.
Safe garden opens
Our safe garden was formally opened on Monday 19 June by Great Yarmouth Mayor Penny Carpenter.
Armed Forces Week 2023
This morning, Monday 19 June, we began our celebrations of Armed Forces Week by raising our flag in front of the hospital. Our Armed Forces Advocate Chris Blyth raised the flag with some of our colleagues including those who have served.
As part of the week, our next Veterans Coffee Morning is being held on Wednesday, 21 June, and anyone who has served with any branch of our Armed Services is invited along. The coffee morning will be held in the Louise Hamilton Centre, on our hospital site, between 11am and 2pm.
The event will include tea/coffee and a buffet, and representatives from organisations that support veterans, including the Royal British Legion, RAFA, RAFB, RNA and Op Courage are also expected to attend. You’ll be able to chat to them and hear more about their work.
This coffee morning and others planned for later in the year, on Wednesday 13 September and Wednesday 15 November, have all been kindly funded by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
You can find out more about the work of our Armed Forces Advocate, including information about the support available, on our website here: https://www.jpaget.nhs.uk/patients-visitors/armed-forces-advocate/
Work on Safe Garden gets underway
Work on a new ‘Safe Garden’ has got underway in one of our hospital courtyards, with landscaping and design work in progress.
The Safe Garden project aims to create a safe open space for veteran patients and those living with dementia, autism and learning disabilities, and their families, and work has now started on the project, with our Armed Forces Advocate Chris Blyth, Dementia Care Lead Ali Thayne and other members of our safeguarding team rolling up their sleeves to clear the area and start developing it.
The garden has been funded partly by Chris’s fundraising marathon run, which raised over £1,200, and by generous support from businesses including Morgan Sindall, who have supplied workers to help the project and funded items for the garden, and ATD (Attention to Detail) Gardening and Landscaping Services. Melvin Hilsden from ATD is working on the wall design featuring a soldier.
Chris said the aim was to create a safe space for patients and their families so those that are able to can go outside and enjoy some fresh air during their hospital stay.
“The garden will feature a number of themed areas including one dedicated to our Armed Forces community and an interactive area for our patients with dementia, learning disabilities and autism. We’d like to thank everyone involved in the project and we look forward to officially unveiling the garden next month, once work has been completed.”
The work will include things like a bus stop, a post box, and garden beds featuring different fragrant and tactile plants.
More than £1,200 raised for safe garden project
More than £1,200 has been raised for a safe garden project at the James Paget after our Armed Forces Advocate completed the 2023 London Marathon.
Chris Blyth competed in the event on Sunday 23 April and finished the 26-mile course in the time of 4 hours 12 minutes and 6 seconds. Through sponsorship he has raised hundreds of pounds to create a new safe garden at the hospital.
The Safe Garden project aims to create a safe open space for veteran patients and those living with dementia, autism and learning disabilities, and their families, and Chris more than doubled his initial fundraising target of £500.
Chris said; “It was a truly great experience and I really enjoyed the day – it was a privilege to take part in the event and raise money for something that will help our patients in the future.
“I was supported by my wife and son, who were able to see me at two different points, and I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported our project. All being well we will be starting work on the Safe Garden on 16th May.”
AFA works with EAAA
Our Armed Forces Advocate has been working with the East Anglian Air Ambulance service to support them with work to become more Armed Forces community aware.
The service heard about the positive work Chris has been doing at the James Paget and the support he has been able to get many Armed Forces community people, not only in the hospital but also the local community.
The EAAA would like to be Veteran aware accredited and identify those who may need support. Chris, our Armed Forces Advocate, has been asked to advise and support where possible. While visting, Chris was given a tour of the organisation, and shown round the helicopter.
Chris's marathon run to raise funds for safe garden
Our Armed Forces Advocate Chris Blyth will be running the London Marathon in April to raise money to fund a ‘safe garden’ at our hospital.
The Safe Garden project aims to create a safe open space for veteran patients and those living with dementia, autism and learning disabilities, and their families.
Chris is aiming to raise £500 for our hospital charity to support work on the garden - which will be created in one of our courtyard areas - by running the London marathon on Sunday 23 April.
Chris said; “We want to create a safe garden area for patients and their families so those that are able to can go outside and enjoy some fresh air in a safe space. The money collected will be used to help fund the project and create themed areas, including one dedicated to our Armed Forces community and an interactive area for our patients with dementia, learning disabilities and autism.”
To support Chris’s fundraising please visit; www.justgiving.com/Christopher-Blyth81
Thank you to Top Body gym after £400 donation
We’d like to say a big thank you to Scott and the team at the Top Body gym in Gorleston who have handed over £400 to support the work of our Armed Forces Advocate.
In the run up to Remembrance Day in November Scott hosted a number of different events to raise money to support local veterans and he recently handed over £400 to Chris Blyth, the James Paget’s Armed Forces Advocate, to support his work with veterans at the hospital.
Scott himself is a veteran and his generosity will now help fund support for former service personnel, including another Veterans Coffee Morning event.
Chris said; “We’d like to thank Scott for his hard work and support and thank everyone who contributed to his fundraising. The money will go towards helping local veterans who visit our hospital and some will be used to support the next Veterans Coffee Morning, which will be held in the Louise Hamilton Centre in the New Year.”