You could become a volunteer mentor

WHILE watching the 4 RIFLES medals parade, I had a chat to Corporal Ricky Ferguson, who was awarded the Military Cross for his action in Afghanistan.

During the tour he was injured in a bomb explosion, losing his legs, one eye and fingers on his right hand.

He said he was proud of the parade but expressed concerns about his transition into civilian life in February, saying the move was rather daunting.

The service charity SSAFA has established a new scheme which pairs volunteer mentors with wounded, injured or sick soldiers who are to be discharged from the army.

A successful pilot programme was run last year and now the scheme is to expand with the support of the MoD’s Army Recovery Capability and hopes to place as many as 300 volunteer mentors in communities across the UK by the end of 2014.

Wiltshire has been selected as a priority area for the recruitment of volunteers due to its large military community.

Many mentors come from a forces background themselves, but this is not essential and some mentees actually prefer talking to a civilian.

Common sense, life experience and being able to listen are by far the most important attributes.

Mentors are normally paired with mentees locally, expenses are paid and mentors all receive two-and-a-half days training.

I trained earlier this year and it was one of the best courses that I have attended.

As you digest your Christmas turkey and start pondering your new year resolutions, please consider volunteering as a mentor To find out about volunteering, visit ssafa.org.uk/how-we-help/mentoring.

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