A former soldier who supports veterans with the many issues they face after leaving the Armed Forces has won the Unsung Hero Awards, sponsored by Exceptional Care Ltd, at the 2023 Pride Of Sefton Awards.
Dave Smith founded Veterans In Sefton with Steve Calderbank in 2014 to assist veterans with the many issues they present with after leaving the Armed Forces.
Both served in the Armed Forces and established NAAFI breaks for veterans to talk about any issues they have.
Dave was integral to introducing psychologist support into Veterans in Sefton to help people to deal with any trauma they had suffered as a result of their service.
The charity is commissioned by Sefton Council to provide bespoke homelessness advice and guidance to veterans and their families and have also established a close working relationship with One Vision Housing.
Over the past five years Veterans in Sefton and One Vision Housing have rehoused or housed
42 homeless veterans. The Veterans In Sefton CIO (charitable incorporated organisation) is based on Marsh Lane in Bootle and covers Merseyside.
It has been approved by Sefton Council and statutory agencies for local delivery of services to veterans, Armed Forces, and Reservist personnel.
The award was presented by Susan Rolfe, Group Managing Director at Exceptional Care Limited.
A finalist in the Unsung Hero category was Ken Rouse, someone who has made a huge impact in Bootle.
Twelve years ago he helped his wife Barbara save Bootle YMCA from closure, and between them they have voluntarily managed the centre since.
Ken has also volunteered in Derby Park in Bootle for the last 30 years, helping to maintain this important and historic community asset.
The second Finalist was Juliet Weston from South Sefton Community paediatric physiotherapy who has worked for Alder Hey for the past 30 years and retired at the end of March.
She has worked with hundreds of families with children with complex needs who have been starting the beginning of their physiotherapy journey from babies, and for some this is the start of a lifetime journey.
Her many fundraising events included a 100km overnight bike ride, raising £4,000 for Alder Hey.
The Pride Of Sefton Awards were organised by Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group and by Stand Up For Southport, with support from In Demand Radio.
VIP guests included Mayor of Sefton Cllr Clare Carragher and Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside Julie Lawson, while the night was hosted by In Demand Radio presenter Claire Simmo and TV presenter Fraser Dainton.
Entertainment was provided by Kelly Bond and Soul Jam.
Money was raised for the Steve Prescott Foundation and the ICU Steps charity, a cause close to Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group Chairman Andrew Mikhail after his long battle in intensive care in hospital against Covid-19 during the pandemic.
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