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New support for Cumbrian Armed Forces Veterans

A new project that aims to provide co-ordinated support for ex-armed forces veterans within Carlisle and Eden districts has been given a £30,000 funding boost.

The Carlisle and Eden Armed Forces Support Coordination Project has recently been awarded £20,000 from the Armed Forces Covenant grant scheme, £5,000 (per year for three years) from Carlisle City Council and £5,000 (per year for three years) from Eden District Council.

The support project will be delivered on the partners behalf by Cumbria CVS. The funding will be used to employ a Co-Ordinator to oversee the project and will focus on practical ways the partners can improve their support for the ex-service community.

The project has been developed over the last year, in partnership with organisations that provide direct support to the ex-service community and the Cumbria Armed Forces Covenant Partnership. The project will focus on themes that have been agreed by partners, based on their day to day experience of delivering services in Carlisle and Eden.

Twenty-two organisations operating in Cumbria, that provide support to ex-service personnel and their families, have already signed up to support the project. They cover a wide range of provision including housing providers and homeless hostels, benefits and financial advice, community safety and police, as well as health and care. This is in addition to organisations that solely focus on supporting the ex-service (service charities).

Carlisle City Council and Eden District Council jointly host a local Community Safety Partnership and Multi-Agency Hub. The Co-ordinator will be based part time at this hub and will help to identify and improve the referral processes, and work alongside the partner members (local authority and Police) to improve the access to support and referral processes for the ex-service community.

Working alongside identified partner organisations, the Co-ordinator will follow the journey of members of the ex-service community (with their expressed consent) through services, to identify how they can work more collaboratively to meet their needs and identify where there are barriers, gaps in resource and where (and why) there is unmet need.

Jozi Brown, Senior Engagement Officer, Cumbria CVS said: “There is so much good will and support for the ex-service community in Carlisle and Eden districts and there are some great service charities. We want to work together, in partnership, to make sure the support gets to the people who need it most. We’ve had some great offers partnership working that we’ll be making the most of - including making connections with local GPs, employers and leisure providers.”

Carlisle City Cllr Lee Sherriff, Portfolio holder for Communities, Health and Wellbeing added: “As Carlisle City Council’s Armed Forces Champion I am delighted to see this fantastic project going ahead. As a former forces’ child (my dad was in the Royal Navy for 22 years) it’s really important to me that those who are prepared to serve to protect our country, and their families, are given the support they may need after that service has ended.

“The new project gives the opportunity for partners to come together to provide a shared approach and understanding. I’m pleased that Carlisle and Eden districts are able to pilot this idea and hope that, in time, it could be replicated in other parts of the county.”

Eden District Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Malcolm Temple was a regular soldier in the Scots Guards and is the Vice President of the Carlisle, Dumfries and Galloway Scots Guards Association. He is well aware of the hardships connected with some veterans and the many veterans’ charities that are out there trying to help

Councillor Temple said: “We are delighted that our joint bid to the Small Armed Forces Covenant Fund has been successful. Working with partners, this will now enable us to provide on the ground support to those veterans and ex- service personnel and their families who need it most.

“Eden District Council has been keen to see an Armed Forces Support Co-ordinator post established for a number of years now and has been working hard to enable this to happen-now with the support of Carlisle City Council and Cumbria CVS, the project can begin by providing practical and much needed support.”

Mike Taylor, the Chair of Cumbria Armed Forces Covenant Partnership added: “The Cumbria Armed Forces Covenant Partnership, is fully supportive of the whole project and look to see developing it further across other parts of Cumbria.”

The project will be overseen by a Management Group comprising Eden District and Carlisle City Councils, Cumbria CVS, Cumbria County Council local Armed Forces Champions, reporting to the Local Covenant Partnership, maintaining a culture of jointly identifying and overcoming issues as they arise - helping to progress and embed new ways of working.

The opportunity to apply to take on the new Co-Ordinator role will soon be available. The post will be advertised by Cumbria CVS in April.

For further information about the project, contact Jozi Brown, Senior Engagement Officer, Cumbria CVS on 01768 800350 or email: jozib@cumbriacvs.org.uk

ENDS