Armed forces veterans will be better supported thanks to a funding boost of almost £150,000 for drop-in centres around the South East.
The award – from the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Covenant Fund – will go towards expanding local support for former military personnel who often find it harder to access public services.
As well as offering practical advice on things like jobs and housing, the centres foster friendships and help ensure that veterans with mental health difficulties or social care needs get the right support.
Forces Connect South East, an alliance of public services in Surrey, Hampshire, West and East Sussex, Kent, Medway and Brighton and Hove, supported the bid and helped Surrey County Council secure the funding. There are 280,000 veterans across the region, 42,000 in Surrey alone.
Surrey County Council Chairman Peter Martin, who is also Chairman of the Forces Connect South East Member Working Group, said: “I’m delighted our bid for this funding has been successful. Veterans can find it hard to access public services and drop-in centres are places where they can get advice and support easily and conveniently. We’ll find out whether any new centres are needed and how we can make existing drop-ins better so veterans get even more benefit from them.”
Forces Connect South East has already secured £321,000 from the Covenant Fund for a ground-breaking project which includes initiatives such as training for frontline staff, an app to make it quick and easy for members of the forces to find the right support and a network of career coaches to help those making the transition to civilian life.