A SUPPORT group for veterans and servicemen in Newport has been launched in partnership with Newport County AFC.

The group, which has been set up by David Watkins and meets at Bar Amber in Clarence Place, aims to offer veterans easy access to any support they may need, as well as offering a space to socialise with their fellow servicemen and women.

“It’s something I’ve thought about doing for two or three years,” he said. “There’s no support group in Newport, the nearest one is in Cardiff.

“The idea is to use this as a hub so other agencies can drop in and offer help to the veterans. A lot of these agencies do home visits, but that is quite time-consuming.


“It’s not just a support service, you can come along and meet new people and socialise with other veterans. We are also working to offer support to servicemen’s families and for their children especially.

“We have a lot of things still to do but we wanted to get it set up and get the support out there as early as possible.”

Mr Watkins, a veteran from Newport, was medically discharged in 2010.

“A few years ago, I had to surrender my HGV licence,” he said. “I then started to develop mental health problems, which were unrelated to the military.

“It made me realise how important it was to reach out for help and support.”

Support services from Newport City Council, and charities such as Help For Heroes, will be on hand to offer advice and support, and there will also be a focus on the support available for the families of servicemen.

Cllr Mark Spencer, Newport City Council’s armed forces and veterans champion, said: “It’s really important we support our servicemen and veterans.

“The more we do with them and the more we listen to them, the more we can learn how best to support them.”

Ryan Courtney, a director at Newport County, said: “Newport County Football Club is proud of being a community club.

“What we are trying to do here is create a community hub where people can come and talk to like-minded people and reach any support they need and offer it free of charge. It’s about helping the community.

“As a club it’s about trying to do something to support our armed forces throughout the year, not just on Remembrance Day, alongside our Tickets for Troops project.

“I’m proud as a club to be doing something for veterans and service personnel.”

The group runs every Friday between midday and 2pm at Bar Amber on Clarence Place, Newport.