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Veterans Put In The Miles To Boost Physical And Mental Health

They were joined by civilians for a hike led by the armed forces charity, Liverpool Veterans HQ.

Veterans and their families from Liverpool have spent a day in North Wales to improve their fitness and to help combat social isolation.

They were joined by civilians for a hike led by the armed forces charity, Liverpool Veterans HQ.

It is one of the welfare services provided by the charity, which includes a food bank, a clothes bank and family support.

To the Horseshoe Falls, Llangollen, and the start of a six-mile hike for 55 veterans and civilians from Liverpool.

It is part of a project funded by the Armed Forces Covenant, called Integration through Health, and run by the charity Liverpool Veterans HQ.

"The main benefits are to get them out the house, reduce isolation, loneliness, build relationships and friendships as well and get them fit," says Bob Blanchard, Liverpool Veterans HQ chairman.

Some of the veterans have mental and physical health problems, addiction and loneliness.

As well as hiking, the charity offers golf, cycling, fishing, football, and rugby - all for free.

Former Royal Greenjacket Michael Awang went to Liverpool Veterans HQ when he needed help with his autistic son Ben.

Gradually, Ben got involved with the charity and now runs community cycling courses.

"Everyone comments on Ben - the whole household is really made-up with the progress he's made," says Michael.

The walk finishes at the famous Pontcysyllte aqueduct above the River Dee.

Fifty-one miles away is a food bank at Liverpool Veterans HQ in Anfield. 

It helps feed veterans and their families in one of Britain’s most deprived regions.

The charity can also help with housing, employment and health, with a clothes bank, a mentoring service, a reflexology and Reiki room, and a recreation space.

There is also a programme held for the families of veterans in custody.

"All the focus is on the veteran - but what about the family?" says Kev Archer, Families Officer, Liverpool Veterans HQ.

And there are days out, like the hike in North Wales, getting veterans, their families and their supporters out of the city with some good company.

Forces TV will celebrate the UK’s servicemen and women on Saturday with Armed Forces Day Live (2017), a special live broadcast from Liverpool.

The city is hosting the Armed Forces Day National Event, honouring Britain’s military past and present. 

The programme will offer unrivalled coverage of the National Event, which features the Royal Marines unarmed combat display, a Red Arrows air display, RAF dog handling exercises and a parade of around 1,000 serving personnel, veterans, cadets and marching bands through the city centre.

Live coverage on Forces TV runs from 11am until 12:30pm, with a highlights programme at 17:30.