RAF veterans in Lichfield and Burntwood are being urged to connect with a service aiming to tackle loneliness during lockdown.

The RAF Benevolent Fund has launched the weekly ‘Chat and Check’ service in response to the coronavirus crisis last year.

The initiative sees veterans and their partners contacted to help ensure they retain connections with others during lockdown.

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, chief executive of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said:

“Although necessary, these lockdown measures mean many of our veterans will be facing the next several weeks – or months – completely alone. 

“And while the vaccine rollout out across the country provides some hope, social isolation and loneliness poses a real threat to our elderly this winter, among them many former RAF personnel and their partners supported by the Fund. 

“I speak to one such gentleman every Tuesday. He lives alone and spent much of 2020 totally isolated, and for him, this service truly is a lifeline.

“We chat about what he’s been up to, what he’s cooking for tea, to his time in the RAF and often I’m the only person he will speak to for days.”

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot

The fund also facilitates weekly telephone friendship groups, provides access to a listening and counselling service and an online wellbeing portal to help support the veteran community.  

“Throughout the pandemic, many of us have learnt more about our neighbours and local community.

“That’s why we are calling on the people to consider whether they know any RAF veterans, or their spouses or widows, who may be experiencing loneliness.”

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot

People can be referred to the RAF Benevolent Fund via rafbf.org or by calling 0300 102 1919.