Date Published: 29 October 2019
A joint initiative helping identify the needs of the Armed Forces community has received high-profile backing from the Government’s Veterans’ Minister.
Johnny Mercer MP, the Minister for Military Personnel and Veterans in the Ministry of Defence and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs in the Cabinet Office, has offered his support – via video – as part of a special event, held at The Symington Building in Market Harborough, on 25 October 2019, to officially launch the findings of an Armed Forces community survey.
The survey, conducted earlier this year, targeted people with a connection to the British Armed Forces and was developed by Connected Together, Harborough District Council, Rutland County Council and South Kesteven District Council, with a view to understanding all aspects of military life.
The survey had more than 700 responses across the three Council areas. Over half of the people who took part in the survey were veterans and 25 per cent were currently serving or a reservist.
Attendees at Friday’s launch event heard presentations by Harborough District Council’s Chairman Barbara Johnson, the Council’s Armed Forces Champion Rani Mahal, and Council Leader Phil King – as well as an overview of the survey findings and some of the recommendations as a result.
“A massive thank you for what you’ve done on behalf of the MOD (Ministry of Defence) and the whole veterans’ community in your efforts to really understand the challenges and make the transition easier for people who are leaving [the Armed Forces] and make sure the Armed Forces Covenant is honoured in your part of the world.”
Johnny Mercer MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs
As well as a special message from Johnny Mercer MP; there was also a video message of support from Lt Col Keith Spiers of 7th Infantry Brigade & HQ East [The Desert Rats] – and a question and answer session.
“We have a large and diverse Armed Forces Community made up of serving personnel from all branches of the military, together with Forces families and veterans of all ages. The findings of this wide-reaching survey and the important recommendations that have been made as a result will help to guide our efforts to support the Armed Forces here in Rutland – particularly where we are working hard to improve mental health and combat loneliness and isolation. Recognising the undaunted and selfless commitment of our service personnel and families, Rutland continues to stand alongside them in their time of need.”
Councillor Ian Razzell, Armed Forces Champion for Rutland County Council
The report recommendations call for better access to suitable mental health help for veterans and serving personnel, further support with transition to civilian life when people leave the Armed Forces, support for families of serving personnel who may be lonely or isolated, and greater awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant.
Harborough District Council, Rutland County Council, South Kesteven District Council have all signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant which is a formal commitment to support the Armed Forces community.