Last week I attended the Veterans’ and Armed Forces Mini Conference organised by Cllr Pat Agar the city council’s Armed Forces Champion.

I’ve never had much involvement with the Armed Forces and this was a chance for me to listen and to learn.

We may not have war in this country but a European war in Ukraine and what is happening in places like Niger in Africa remind us that peace is both precious and fragile.

Mark Jackson OBE gave a talk about the D Day landings in preparation for next year’s commemoration of the 80th anniversary. Incredible bravery was displayed. It was also interesting to be reminded about the meticulous level of logistical planning involved, encapsulated by the phrase ‘tactics is for novices, logistics is for professionals’. How true, there is surely a lesson here for business life too.

However sometimes the interesting insights don’t come from a conference presentation but from the small talk and chat over a coffee. Whilst talking about the rapidly advancing age profile of many of the veterans and the fact that active service was becoming a more distant memory for the general public, one of the veterans said to me, “most people have forgotten about service and sacrifice”. Getting a bit older myself I found myself nodding in agreement.

During the mini conference I also learned about the great work that Stepway does in supporting veterans to survive and thrive in the civilian world. Also, the sense of community and friendship provided by the Armed Forces & Veterans’ Breakfast Clubs that meet monthly in Worcester. Another avenue of support is through the NHS where veterans can get advice from the NHS website. We also learned that veterans can self-refer themselves via that website to access mental health support.

For me, the veterans’ mini conference was a window into another world. I know a little bit more than I did before. A big thank you to everyone at Stepway for all you do to support our veterans.



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