Project Update as at 27 March 18
A TIME FOR A REAL CHANGE IS CLEARLY HERE !!
Following the announcement of Brexit, and the other issues on the PM’s and her other Minister’s laps, the process of change has remained slow. That said, there does now appear to be light at the end of the tunnel. Both the MOJ and NHS England are in the process of introducing new policies which will hopefully serve to assist us in the process of addressing the needs of those veterans who are suffering with various levels of mental illness, including those who have become caught up in the CJS. Against this background, we are increasingly confident that VCP model will al long last come to fruition.
In the meantime, as part of its development, the VCP has joined forces with the former St Loye’s Armed Forces Community Support Hub. Now based in the Exeter City Co Lab, the VCP HUB is already supporting 52 veterans struggling with different aspects of their transition back into civvy street.
The Armed Forces Hub had been operational between April 2014 and April 2017. Originally established as a partnership between St Loye’s Transitions Project (SLTP), The Royal British Legion (RBL) and SSAFA with funding from the Covenant fund. Regrettably, in April 2017, St Loye’s amalgamated with another large local charity and decided to close the Hub.
The aims of the Hub were very similar to those of the VCP, namely:
- To provide a safe environment with a person centred, single point of focus for Armed Forces personnel, Service Leavers, Veterans and their families, all providing, timely, on-going, comprehensive and appropriate support/signposting through diverse and trusted providers
- Delivering an innovative wrap around service to veterans, identifying the various individual needs to find help to find work or training: – physical disability, poor mental health, problematic substance or alcohol abuse, homelessness, debt, ex offender and relationship breakdown.
- The model is both enabling and supportive, perceiving the wounded, injured and sick part of the veteran and service leaver’s community as an asset.
The Hub offers
Rapid access to:
- Bespoke employment and training information and advice
- Bespoke personalised support, mentoring and coaching
- Access to RBL Case Officer Service
- Access to RBL advice and information surgeries
- Access to RBL specialist services – Outreach officer service, War pensions & Armed Forces Compensation scheme (AFCS) advisor service – support with appeals.
- Access to SSAFA & RBL Home visiting casework service, for currently serving, those who have served their families and dependant
- Links and positive relationships with many other organisations, including NHS services, accommodation providers and employment courses
- Similarly, a close working relationship has grown with Help for Heroes (H4H). Seen as a partner organisation, the Hub is utilised as an outreach office to engage wounded, injured and sick (WIS) veterans, linking with the Recovery Centre, Endeavour House, HMS Drake, Plymouth and their Band of Brothers/Sisters projects
The Way Ahead
Following the continuous development of this work, it is intended to promote the main VCP programme aimed specifically at veteran offenders, linking with the three Devon prisons, the local CRC and others involved in reducing re-offending.