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Warwickshire’s veterans project impresses MoD

Jane Britton, area manager Royal British Legion, county councillors Izzi Seccombe and Bob Stevens and consultant psychologist Dr Dan Barnard with the guides that have achieved national praise.

Jane Britton, area manager Royal British Legion, county councillors Izzi Seccombe and Bob Stevens and consultant psychologist Dr Dan Barnard with the guides that have achieved national praise.

A Warwickshire County Council campaign to support veterans and their families has attracted the attention of the Ministry of Defence, which wants to roll it out nationally.

Public Health Warwickshire - part of the county council - used funding from the MoD to run a series of guides to help veterans settle back into civilian life.

Now the MoD has asked for the council’s help to help veterans across the country.

As well as raising awareness of the difficulties that ex-service personnel can sometimes face as they resettle back into civilian life, the campaign aimed to increase understanding of how they can access services relating to public housing, health and education, know what support they are entitled to and the benefits and grants available to them.

The guides also signpost veterans to support for mental health issues and guidance about a healthy lifestyle.

Dr John Linnane, the council’s director of public health, said: “It is testament to the amount of hard work put into this project by Public Health Warwickshire, working with Coventry University, that it has received national attention from the Ministry of Defence.

“We know that ex-service personnel can often suffer huge inequalities both in terms of health and access to other local authority provided services such as housing and financial advice and support.

“We hope by producing these booklets targeting veterans, their families, health and local authority professionals, we can go some way to supporting veterans and their families in managing the transition into civilian life in Warwickshire more smoothly. And of course this may also now be true nationally.”

In Warwickshire there are more than 3,000 people drawing service pensions, and between February 2010 and October 2012, 450 veterans have been supported by the Royal British Legion.

Cllr Bob Stevens, who is reponsible for policy on health and is also president of Warwickshire Royal British Legion, said: “This is excellent news for Warwickshire.

“The transition from military life to civilian can be extremely difficult. If you consider that many may also have been injured and have those very real mental and physical scars, our support is crucial.”

There is both guidance for veterans and guidance for GPs, NHS staff and public sector workers. The guides are available at public places such as doctors’ surgeries and online; www.warwickshire.gov.uk/veterans

 

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