British disabled ex-services personnel charity sets up in Republic
A veterans' charity founded by a former Co Down Royal Irish Regiment soldier is expanding into the Republic of Ireland.
Let's Do, which offers active and challenging trips to veterans overcoming disabilities all over the UK, focuses on rehabilitation and comradeship.
This year alone the charity took eight disabled veterans to Botswana, South Africa, as well as to a number of motorcycle events across the UK and the Isle of Man.
The registered charity was set up in 2014 and one of its founding members, Seaforde man Rab Maxwell, is enthusiastic about the plans to reach out to veterans in the Republic of Ireland.
The 50-year-old, who lost an arm following a motorcycle accident in 2004, believes that veterans in Ireland are not getting the same benefits that those in the UK are.
"Our biggest issue has always been funding streams," he said.
"It's always a constant worry about how you can maintain your footprint.
"We would like to extend our footprint into the Republic of Ireland because there is a higher proportion of veterans who have served in a wide range of conflicts there.
"We just feel that they are getting the least benefit and what we would like to do is set out our stall and reach out to those folks."
Looking back at why he decided to help set up Let's Do, which welcomes those with backgrounds in all services, Mr Maxwell explained that as the suicide rate is high among disabled veterans, he felt he had to do something.
"I wanted to give something back because I had some low periods when I was in recovery where it would have been very, very easy to do something that there was no coming back from," he said.
Future expansion plans of Let's Do includes the development of a five-acre Irish course fishing lake in Seaforde and with Lottery funding, sponsorship and individual donations, a number of other projects are in the pipeline.
These include training in dry stone walling, carpentry, basic construction and a photography course in the Isle of Man.
Appealing for volunteers, Mr Maxwell added: "We're always looking for volunteers, especially for our fishing project as it is a Northern Ireland-based initiative and that means our brothers and sisters in the Republic can avail of it.
"If sponsors or businesses would like to get involved we can create space on these trips so they can see where their funding is going.
"These trips are about giving veterans something to look forward to.
"We need to plan our expansion but it's limited by what your funds actually allow you to do."
If you would like more information about how to get involved with Let's Do, either as a disabled veteran, volunteer or as a sponsor, contact Mr Maxwell on 07543 419 833 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's Do are also on Facebook @letsdoveteranssupport or you can visit their website at www.letsdoevents.info