Royal British Legion Branch Chairman endorses dedicated Forces Family website
Posted on: 28 July 2016
A dedicated website has launched that makes it quick and easy for members of the armed forces community in Devon to access key services including health, financial and welfare.
The Devon Forces Family website is an online directory of services and support for military service leavers, veterans, reservists and their families living in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. By hosting dedicated information in a single place, the website makes it quick and easy for all those connected with the armed forces to access services and support in health, housing, employment, education, money and leisure.
Devon Forces Family is supported by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, and has been launched by the Devon Armed Forces Community Wellbeing Partnership (DAFCWP), which provides strategic direction to improve the health and wellbeing of the armed forces community living in Devon.
The website was built by Devon County Council and has been developed in consultation with users from the armed forces community, including veterans and professionals working with the community, and in response to the South West Peninsula Veteran’s Health Needs Assessment.
Published by the DAFCWP in 2014, the Health Needs Assessment found that whilst most of the approximately 107,000 veterans living in Devon made a smooth transition into civilian life, about 15% have a complex mix of physical and mental health needs which can affect family life and, in some cases, can lead to offending behaviour – a tenth of Devon’s prison population are veterans. Health needs can be further compounded by other factors such as financial and welfare problems.
In contrast to the majority of the general population, serving and veteran personnel and their families experience unique factors as a result of their time in service, including not only the risks of injury or death, but also those related to armed services’ lifestyle, such as frequent moves and the disruption this may bring. A lack of familiarity about civilian services, and in some cases the existence of stigma, can also prevent many veterans and their families from accessing healthcare, finding suitable housing, gaining employment or even joining social groups.
Announcing the launch of the website, Councillor Roger Croad, Cabinet Member for Communities and Devon County Council’s lead member for the Armed Forces Covenant, said:
“The Armed Services are an integral part of the history and heritage of Devon, and we have an excellent level of services and support available to our Armed Forces Community, but information has previously been listed across a number of websites, which can make it hard to find. By bringing things together in a dedicated online directory, we hope that devonforcesfamily will make it quick and easy for our military service leavers, veterans, reservists and their families living in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay to access these services, get the support they need and ultimately improve their health and wellbeing.”
RBL Ivybridge Branch Chairman Dermot Roberts(ex WOCOXN(SM) said:
“I left the Royal Navy 4 years ago after 35 years service and although I knew that there was lots of support out there, I found it incredibly hard to find. I wasn’t homeless or penniless so I was ok but there is no follow-up and leavers are not asked how they are coping either socially or mentally and there was no obvious place to look.
“This website changes that, for the first time in one place there is everything you could think of in the way of support covering all the subjects required. I commend the diligence and detail that has gone into this and although it’s early days, as a one-stop solution, I believe this website will prove to be of great assistance to all service leavers.”
The website has been funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund. The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation to all those who serve. It says that we will do all we can to ensure they are treated fairly and are not disadvantaged in their day-to-day lives.
Need more information?
Watch a short film promoting the website.
Visit the armed forces covenant website.
Posted in: Community