The county council has launched a training course for frontline public services staff across Surrey to help meet the needs of military personnel and veterans.
The online course explains how the council and many other public bodies are committed through the Armed Forces Covenant to ensuring servicemen and women, as well as reservists and veterans, suffer no disadvantage compared to civilians in accessing services such as healthcare, housing, social care, schools and support to find jobs.
Members of the armed forces can find it harder to get the help they need than civilians because of frequent moves, extended periods away and a lack of familiarity with support available. They may also need specific medical or social care as a result of their time in service.
The e-learning course will help staff ensure they honour the covenant in the way they work. It will be offered to county council frontline staff and, through the Surrey Skills Academy, to other public bodies across the county.
It follows the award of a grant from the Ministry of Defence to support the South East armed forces community. More information about Forces Connect South East can be found here.
Peter Martin, Chairman of Surrey County Council and the Chairman of the Surrey Civilian-Military Partnership Board, said: “The vast majority of former servicemen and women living in Surrey have successfully adapted to civilian life, putting the skills and experience they acquired while serving in the armed forces to really good use.
“However, a minority can be in need of support either at the point of discharge or many years later. This course explains the commitment of the Surrey Armed Forces Covenant and how it can be honoured and implemented in our local community.”
David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council, who served in the British Army for 22 years, said: “All our staff taking this e-learning course will have a greater understanding of the principles of the covenant at a local level and it will also help them signpost those in need to further information and support. I consider myself very fortunate to have such dedicated staff who are prepared to support the Armed Forces community in this very positive way.”
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