Forces Connect South East is a cross border partnership comprising Surrey, Kent, East Sussex and West Sussex County Councils, Brighton and Hove, Medway Councils and Sussex NHS.
It is a two-year Ministry of Defence Armed Forces Covenant Funded Programme aimed at making it easier for servicemen and women and their families, as well as reservists and veterans, to access public sector services including healthcare, housing, schools, financial advice and support to find jobs.
The scheme will involve training hundreds of frontline staff across the region to meet the needs of armed forces personnel. Other strands include developing an app to make it quick and easy for members of the forces to find the right support, and establishing a mentoring programme to help those making the transition from military to civilian employment.
Members of the armed forces can find it harder to access public services than the general population because of frequent moves, extended periods away and a lack of familiarity with support available. This project will ensure more staff are aware of their responsibilities under the Covenant, and provide the knowledge and skills to better enable them to help and support the armed forces communities.
The two-year project – the first of its kind in the country – is expected to form a blueprint to help other councils improve support for the armed forces. For more information contact Amanda Barnes, Programme Officer, Forces Connect South East: Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org.