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Veterans invited to join social groups and record their life stories in new pilot project

A new project is bringing together former service personnel through local friendship groups and offering them the opportunity to record their life stories for posterity.

The initiative is currently focused on three areas of Surrey – Epsom and Ewell, Guildford and Surrey Heath – and could in future be extended more widely.

Former service personnel in those areas are encouraged to take part in the project, which is free to access.

They will be able to meet others with similar experiences and also give feedback on what activities they would like to attend locally so the social groups can be developed to reflect their interests.

In recognition of their service, veterans will also be offered the opportunity to work with trained volunteers to record their life stories and have them transcribed into booklets for themselves and their loved ones. If they wish, the stories will be archived for future generations to access.

The project is open to people from all walks of life who have served in any of the Armed Forces either recently or in the past, including as reservists, in the Territorial Army or through national service.

The county council is working with armed forces charities and local museums to deliver the project, which is funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, under its Force for Change programme.

Sinead Mooney, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “This wonderful project is just getting off the ground so we’re encouraging the friends and families of veterans, whether younger or older, to let them know about this opportunity.

“Bringing together those who have served in this way will help them to make new friends and share memories and experiences.”

Helyn Clack, chair of Surrey County Council and the Surrey Civilian Military Partnership Board, said: “I’d like to thank the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust for their support of this project and I hope that many veterans will benefit from the opportunities it offers, not only the friendship groups, but also the chance to document their life stories for their families and posterity.”

For more details and to get involved, please get in touch with:

Epsom and Ewell – tracey.morris@surreycc.gov.uk or call 07790 585352

Guildford – marne.stiles@surreycc.gov.uk or call 07815 410205

Surrey Heath – mike.rowlands@surreycc.gov.uk or call 07971 604497

Across Surrey, the free Forces Connect mobile app signposts veterans, armed forces personnel and their loved ones to local support and advice. Search “Forces Connect” in Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.

ENDS

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