Veterans Aid hosts international visitors
Students and academic staff from Belgium’s Thomas More University have once again visited Veterans Aid to learn more about the UK charity’s unique Welfare to Wellbeing model and its wider application among the socially excluded.
Lecturers Jurgen Basstanie and Miek De Cuyper, accompanied by students from Germany, Ukraine and Belgium, attended a presentation about veterans issues in the UK and learned how they were successfully addressed by a frontline charity.
Following CEO Dr Hugh Milroy’s lecture the visitors met a former soldier who had been helped by the charity. He explained how after nearly three decades as a homeless addict he had, with the charity’s support, turned his life around and started a course of study at Ruskin College, Oxford.
Mr Basstanie said, “It’s almost 10 years since I got to know Hugh and started working with him. I was looking to understand how charities work in Britain and the military connection made it even more interesting. What my students typically say after these visits is how different things are … they think that social work is the same everywhere but after coming here they realise that it isn’t, not just institutionally but how care is provided. The (Veterans Aid )Welfare to Wellbeing system is also something that sticks out. This is a learning experience for us so we get some European funding to come – and I hope Brexit won’t change that!”
Dr Milroy added, “We value all our international and academic partners, but the relationship with Thomas More University is a special one. The young sociology and business students who learn from us today will determine how the socially excluded veterans - and non-veterans - of tomorrow will be helped. It is vital that they approach their studies with open, questioning minds and consider veterans as part of society rather than a breed apart.”
Thomas More, which is the biggest university college in Flanders, offers a range of English-taught bachelor degree programmes and exchange programmes in English, for students from partner universities. The visits to VA are part of the wider international Erasmus programme
Veterans Aid operates worldwide and has extensive operational and academic links with relevant organisations.