East Sussex Veterans Hub
1281. Bernard Stonestreet
Bernard Stonestreet, from Hastings, is a former Royal Marine and Army officer who founded the ‘East Sussex Veterans Hub’ to support ex-Service Personnel in the area experiencing mental ill health and difficulties adjusting to the challenges of civilian life.
These range from those who are homeless, ex-offenders or those who have fallen on hard times, often with relationship issues. Currently the Hub attracts over 50 veterans and is increasing its numbers monthly, and Bernard works closely with probation services and with Armed Forces charity SSAFA.
Bernard received his award from The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, with responsibility for veterans’ affairs.
In a personal letter to Bernard, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how you have supported hundreds of veterans through the ‘East Sussex Veterans Hub’. As a nation, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to those, like you, who have served in our Armed Forces and I thank you for all that you do to continue to serve your community.”
Oliver Dowden, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said:
“It was a privilege to present a Points of Light award on behalf of the Prime Minister to Bernard Stonestreet. Bernard selflessly volunteers to help our brave veterans who have fallen on hard times to deal with personal issues and ease the transfer into civilian life. I can’t think of a more worthy winner of the first Points of Light award of this Government.”
“It is a privilege to be selected for this prestigious award and I thank the Prime Minister for his consideration. It is with a degree of humility that I accept this, more on behalf of our small team of trustees and volunteers, not forgetting our veterans who have shown great courage in accepting they require help and have sought support to begin their road to recovery and a better quality of life.
“The work of East Sussex Veterans Hub, now in its fourth year, aims to reach those veterans who have a range of needs, often not met by larger service charities, statutory bodies or other organisations. Our offer is ongoing support, information, advice and guidance and working with the NHS, NPS, statutory bodies and other charities, always involving the individuals, we will make a difference for them.
“All involved in our team see change for the better, in our veterans on a regular basis. That in itself is a tremendous reward for the organisation and myself personally. As we progress it is anticipated we will continue to reach more veterans in our area and beyond.”