A project to help ex-service personnel will be coming to Gravesham, Medway and Shepway, thanks to Ministry of Defence funding under the Armed Forces Covenant.
Base Camp KENT, which is similar to the Royal British Legion Industries' existing project delivered in Aylesford Kent, aims to increase understanding of the challenges facing the armed forces community, raise awareness and increase contact with service providers. The project also aims to increase confidence,
reduce isolation and promote better integration.
Gravesham Borough Council submitted the bid on behalf of Medway Council, Shepway District Council and Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), who are all committed to deliver the project.
As part of the funding bid, the partners set out that:
All communities need a level of support at some time throughout their lives, be that vocational training, identifying and securing employment, managing financial matters or health and wellbeing. For the majority, support is accessed through mainstream providers but increasingly there is recognition
that provision needs to address the individual and specific needs of different community groups, for example, young people, vulnerable adults and troubled families.
Whilst mainstream provision may be appropriate for many members of the armed forces community, it does not take into account the range of issues, challenges and barriers that those ex-service personnel are likely to experience; for example, frequently moving addresses or time served overseas, making
it difficult to set down roots and establish a good support network, medical and mental health conditions uncommon to the majority population due to the nature of their work and possibly lack of experience or exposure to the employment markets, managing finances or securing housing.
The funding is part of the new annual fund was launched in June 2015, demonstrating the Government's long-term commitment to supporting schemes under the Armed Forces Covenant.
The Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly. The 2015 fund priorities are community integration, the coordination and delivery of support to the Armed Forces community, and veterans in the criminal justice system.
Fifty-nine small grants totalling almost £1m were awarded in late 2015 and a further 93 small bids worth £1.46m and 24 larger bids exceeding £7.4m have now been announced. Community integration projects involve civilian and military communities working together. The coordination and delivery of the
support strand is about delivering services such as healthcare, along with improving employability and social support. Schemes that help veterans in prison and on return their return to civilian life will benefit from £4.6m.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "The new fund strategically targets areas of need. Every year, this £10m will go towards worthy projects that fully promote the principles of the Covenant."
Cllr Cubitt said: "This reaffirms our commitment to our armed forces locally and as part of the wider Kent Covenant. We are pleased to have brought on board other local organisations and hope to take this further within both the public and private sectors.
"All too often members of the services face particular difficulties in meeting the criteria to qualify for help, benefits, housing and employment due to the nature of their duties. This compact aims to remove those problems and, where appropriate, positively discriminates in their favour. We
all owe a debt to our military especially in these uncertain times. This covenant is a solemn recognition of that debt and shows our desire to redress the balance for these vital men and women."
For further information about this project, please contact Anita Tysoe, Service Manager, Customer & Theatre Services, Gravesham Borough Council. email@example.com. 01474 33 73 60