Conference focuses on support for armed forces community

signing the Armed Forces Community Covenant

Posted on: 29 September 2017

Specialist training could be offered to help frontline NHS and council staff across the county better support the needs of Devon’s veterans, forces personnel and their families.

It is one of the ways that £190,000 awarded to a consortium of South West Councils from the MOD’s Armed Forces Covenant fund and announced at The Devon Armed Forces Community Wellbeing Partnership conference today (Friday) could be used.

More than 50 delegates from the armed services, local authorities, businesses, charities and the public sector convened to debate and discuss subjects ranging from healthcare and housing to education and adapting to ‘civvy street.’

A lack of familiarity about civilian services, and in some cases stigma, can make it difficult for many veterans and their families to access health care, to find suitable housing, to get a job or join social groups.

Representatives from some of the 80 members of the partnership took the chance to network and discuss the challenges, the recent projects and how to build on the existing work to support the armed forces community.

There are more than 100,000 members of the armed forces community in Devon, and the fund will enable the South West Training and Awareness Programme to ensure that those who need help are on the radar of support services and that the right help is given at the right time.

A national network of ‘military champions’ to give a voice to the armed forces community could also be created.

Another priority is ensuring that help for veterans is consistent across the region and this could be underpinned with the creation of a forces-friendly Quality Mark so veterans know what they can expect.

This would be supported through the delivery of a regional web portal for the southwest peninsula, building on the highly successful The Devon Forces Family website launched last year.

Between January and June this year 553 different users accessed the website for information on subjects including housing, support for military families, employment and health.

Former serviceman and Devon County Councillor, Roger Croad, Lead Member for the Armed Forces Covenant, said:

“There are more than 100,000 veterans living in Devon and as a nation we have a duty to ensure that that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.

“As we approach Remembrance Day, it’s right that we not only remember all those who have given their lives for our country but also consider those who are still with us and that we recognise the difficulties as a result of their experiences the impact on their families.

“This conference has given stakeholders the opportunity to share information and ideas on how best we can continue to improve our support for the armed forces community.”

Posted in: Community | Health and Wellbeing