In South Yorkshire there are 72,387 veterans – men and women who have spent time in the armed forces.
Between them, they have 24,584 dependent children.
Many of them live in the Barnsley area.
The large numbers come as no surprise to me because I have been to many occasions where veterans and their families are present, not least at Remembrance time.
We have much to be grateful for from them.
Most veterans leave the services and settle back successfully into civilian life.
But some struggle and a few come into contact with the police as a result of these difficulties.
So, for example, any with drink or mental health issues, who draw attention to themselves in a public place, may find the police called.
The last thing the police want to do is arrest someone for causing a disturbance when their problems are not going to be solved by spending any time in a police cell or going to court.
So the police work with an organisation called Project Nova to help veterans and their families.
Project Nova is a brilliant charity that works to support vulnerable veterans re-integrate back into society in whatever ways they need.
They give practical and emotional support. They help people find jobs, housing and training.
They do this whatever rank people have held and whatever their reasons for leaving the services.
Crucially, they work with the police so that anyone the police come across who clearly needs help can be referred to them.
The staff of Project Nova are experienced at working with veterans, some being former service personnel themselves, and understand how hard it can be for some to make the transition from military to civilian life.
I recently met representatives from Project Nova to hear about the work with the police.
I was very struck by something that Damian, a former member of the Parachute Regiment, said: “When I came to Project Nova I was drinking heavily and taking drugs. I’m now working full time and have my own place. I’m ten times better that I was this time last year.”
But it is hard for former members of the armed forces to ask for help.
Pride and the idea that soldiers have to be strong at all times gets in the way.
If you know someone who is struggling, get in touch with my office and we will put you in touch with Project Nova.