New help for our Armed Forces community
Launch of Lancashire Armed Forces Hub
A new Lancashire Armed Forces Hub has been launched, which will help councils, charities and other organisations in Lancashire who serve the armed forces community.
The new hub will offer help with job opportunities, health and housing services, employment, education and training for the armed forces community in addition to support for welfare concerns.
It also encourages organisations to be more 'forces friendly' by adopting ideas such as a common housing policy for veterans struggling to find accommodation, and working with local GP surgeries to highlight the specific needs of the armed forces.
Thanks to more than £150,000 in government funding to set up the hub, the search is on for an experienced manager to take charge of this new service, and help to increase delivery of public support to veterans, serving personnel, and their families.
The hub was created in a joint-project between the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, Lancashire County Council and Army HQ NW, which is based at Fulwood Barracks in Preston.
Professor Mike Thomas, UCLan Vice-Chancellor, said: “This is a great example of partnership working to ensure the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant. The university is committed and excited to be working together with the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services to ensure a better future for those who have served.”
"I believe passionately that we have a duty to all who have served to ensure their transition to civilian life is as seamless as possible."
The new service, based at the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services at UCLan, will focus on helping the 15 councils in Lancashire to deliver their Armed Forces Covenant - a public pledge of support signed by every council in the UK to make it easier for veterans and those who serve to get public help.
County Councillor Alf Clempson, the county council's Champion for Veterans and the Armed Forces, and a former Scots Guardsman with twenty four years' service, said: "I know from my own experience, that it's not always easy for service leavers to return to civilian life.
"I believe passionately that we have a duty to all who have served to ensure their transition to civilian life is as seamless as possible. For most the skills and experience they have gained during military service makes them extremely attractive to future employers.
"However at the same time, the public sector sometimes struggles to understand the needs of the armed forces community. Veterans can often have specific needs and requirements, which require a different approach.
"This new resource will pull together all of the good work done by so many organisations in Lancashire, so that veterans and serving personnel and their families will always know where to go to get help.
"The Hub is for every council and charity in Lancashire, not just the county council or the other partners who set up the Hub. We have had a lot of support from other councils who want to work with us to deliver a better service to veterans."
The idea for the hub is based on national research on Armed Forces Covenants carried out by the Local Government Association.
The Lancashire Armed Forces Hub will be officially launched at an event at County Hall, Preston, on 12 September.