Date Published: 25 June 2021
Rutland County Council has encouraged the county’s Armed Forces community to be even better connected during Armed Forces Week.
Armed Forces Week is held every year in June as a way for people to show their appreciation and support for our Armed Forces, including current servicemen and women, service families, reservists, veterans of all ages and cadets.
As part of this year’s Armed Forces Week, Rutland County Council promoted Forces Connect – a free mobile app, designed to help those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces to access public services by directing them to sources of advice and support.
The app was originally launched as part of a project led by Surrey County Council, but has since been expanded to feature more counties, including Rutland. Opening the 'Rutland' tab within the app will display local and national services covering employment, education and training, housing, benefits, family support and care, health and wellbeing, and crisis support.
This is aimed at serving personnel, veterans, and dependants – including spouses, partners, children and parents – and those that work with the Armed Forces community. It is also available to reservists, who give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces and are ready to support the military should their country require them. In Rutland, the Armed Forces community makes up more than 15% of the total population in Rutland, with Reserve Forces accounting for around one sixth of this.
Forces Connect is free to download by searching for it in the App Store (for Apple iPhones or iPads) or the Google Play Store (for Android smartphones and tablets). Details for Rutland already feature on the app and can be accessed immediately.
“Rutland has a long history of supporting Armed Forces families and personnel who live here. The County Council is proud to assist the local Armed Forces community in Rutland, pledging our ongoing support for the services by signing the official Armed Forces Covenant more than a decade ago and achieving a Gold Award from the Covenant’s Employer Recognition Scheme in 2020.“The Armed Forces Covenant Fund provided the original funding for the Forces Connect app, which is now used by over 10,000 people across the UK. As a Council, we are committed to raise awareness of this brilliant resource locally and encourage our Services community to download and start using it. It is completely free, does not contain advertisements and requires no input of personal details. All the content available through the app, about services in Rutland and beyond, is updated monthly to keep it relevant and accurate.“Information that serving personnel, veterans and their loved ones who live in our county might want to look for is available in just a few clicks. That could be searching for an NHS dentist, starting a business, getting advice on housing - or finding out more about the next meeting of the Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club.”Rutland County Council’s Armed Forces Champion Councillor Ian Razzell, who is also a retired Army officer
As the county’s Armed Forces Champion, on Monday 21 June Cllr Razzell joined Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness for the annual flag-raising ceremony at Oakham Castle to mark Armed Forces Day and the start of Armed Forces Week. Also in attendance for the event, which was not held in public for the second year running due to COVID restrictions, were Rutland County Council Chairman Councillor Jeff Dale and High Sheriff of Rutland David Wood, together with a flag-raising party from 7 Regiment RLC, Kendrew Barracks.
During the rest of Armed Forces Week, Reservists Day took place on Wednesday 23 June, recognising the contribution reservists make to the Armed Forces and appreciate the integral part that they play in the UK’s Defence capability. In 2021, Reserves Day was celebrated on Wednesday 23 June, as part of Armed Forces Week. Over 3,000 reservists across the East Midlands commit their spare time, and balance their day jobs and family life for a career in the military, ready to serve should their country need them. More information from the national Reserves Day website at www.armedforcesday.org.uk/reserves-day/.
Thursday 24 June was dedicated to veterans of all ages and from all branches of the military. Armed Forces Week culminates on Saturday 26 with Armed Forces Day www.armedforcesday.org.uk.
Members of Rutland’s Armed Forces community, their families and the professionals who work with them across a range of services were encouraged to share #ForcesConnect on social media during this week. There is also a short film introducing the app.
A range of information for members of the Armed Forces and their families, including a Veterans Gateway, support for reservists and details of Armed Forces Discount Schemes, is available on the County Council’s website at www.rutland.gov.uk/my-council/armed-forces/.
The Veterans Gateway has a 24 hr support line on 0808 8021212. Rutland also has a dedicated Armed Forces Officer whose role it is to help and support serving members of the Armed Forces, reservists, veterans and service families in Rutland. email: email@example.com or call: 01572 722 577.