Clipstone nurse sets up support group to help traumatised veterans
A former mental-health nurse from Clipstone has set up a group to help traumatised veterans of the armed forces fight their inner demons.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition currently afflicting hundreds of men and women who have served their country in war-ravaged countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Flashbacks, nightmares and extreme anxiety are some of the symptoms veterans face when they return to civilian life. Many cannot cope and turn to drink and drugs or even find themselves on the streets.
But Eileen Massey, 63, is determined to come to their rescue and has created Veterans Unite, a support group designed to make that transition from the battlefield more comfortable.
Not only will she use her skills from 16 years as a mental-health nurse. She will also spearhead fundraising by the group, which is in the process of being given charity status.
The first fundraising event will be a bric-a-brac sale, to be held on Sunday, April 25 (10 am to 2 pm) at Vicar Water Country Park in Clipstone, outside Rumbles cafe.
"I no longer work because of an injury, so I wanted to do something else that was positive,” said Eileen.
"I have always been interested in the veterans. A lot of them are struggling, and quite a few of them don’t get any support. They are the forgotten ones.
"Some are homeless, and I feel very strongly about that. One died on the street recently.
"They need help to pinpoint them in the right direction. Many have issues with their housing, their family lives, jobs and benefits.
"I am hoping people will come along to my event and donate because it is a worthwhile cause.”
Already, neighbours and Clipstone businesses, most notably the Co-op and Ruby’s News newsagents, have rallied round, donating items for sale and prizes for a raffle and tombola.
"I have loads of stuff to sell, all at affordable prices,” said Eileen. “There’s everything from books to clothes and handbags.
"A neighbour will be baking some cakes for the day, and there will be competitions for the kids too.
"I want to say a big thankyou to everyone who has donated.”
Veterans Unite has won the support of two councillors, Coun Scott Carlton, who represents Clipstone on Newark and Sherwood District Council, and Coun Sid Walker, a member of Mansfield District Council.
Coun Carlton, who runs a fruit and veg shop, has donated a fruit hamper for Eileen’s event and also won an auction to bid for a Robin Hood plaque that now takes pride of place in his store.
Coun Walker pointed Eileen in the direction of Mansfield Council’s Robin Hood Lottery Community Fund, from which she received £500 to kick-start the group.
Among those also backing Eileen is friend and fellow nurse Donna Wright, whose 29-year-old son is battling PTSD after tours of Afghanistan with the Army.
He has been in hospital, but his mum says his treatment has been shoddy.
In welcoming Eileen’s initiative, desperate Donna posted this on the newly-created Veterans Unite Facebook page: “I am currently his carer, but he has received no other support, despite years of kicking my heels in high-up places.
"He ended up in hospital last year, and I would not wish this on any other mother. I feel so helpless.”