Community and Living
Ex-Forces Support North Yorkshire
Community First Yorkshire (as Rural Action Yorkshire) was mandated to lead a partnership bid to the Aged Veterans Fund in July 2016 on the back of the successful and similar partnership project Warm & Well in North Yorkshire. The County has a large military presence and strong heritage with an estimated 21,000 older veterans residing here. The majority of these veterans are thought to live in Richmondshire, followed closely by Harrogate and Hambleton.
Due to the rural geography of North Yorkshire, access to services for older people can be challenging and this, compounded by loneliness and isolation, were found to be key issues and this finding is supported by feedback from older veterans.
The project is made up of 14 portfolio delivery partners and two additional portfolios from Community First Yorkshire, who is also leading and managing the work and will hold the grant. The project will improve service provision for older veterans and National Service personnel over the age of 65 by delivering a range of projects and interventions aimed at overall health and wellbeing. The funding awarded is, £1,004,664 restricted grant funded by H M Treasury. Aged Veterans Fund funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds.
The portfolios include: befriending and home visits; warm homes and energy efficiency advice; crisis support; hardship fund; access to handyman services; counselling and mental health support; sport; intergenerational workshops; support for carers; advocacy and income maximisation; arts, crafts and heritage; reminiscence; gardening; practical maintenance; upskilling and teaching digital skills; small grants for groups; volunteering; trips, events and days out; Gurkha community outreach work; advice, resources and helpful tools.
Across the project we will support aged veterans to identify and achieve their health and wellbeing goals – whether that’s making their home warmer, learning to email family abroad, or getting out and about more. They will be better able to live independently for longer, feel more confident that they know where to seek support, have improved social connections, and an increased sense of wellbeing. Improving the life of the older veteran is central to the final outcomes framework.
The ‘Healthy Horizons’ project is a healthy lifestyle programme which aims to improve the physical and mental health of ex-forces within Richmondshire. We will be delivering an accessible, 2 tier lifestyle programme, to support long term lifestyle changes. The Healthy Horizons referral programme has two elements, one to provide the opportunity to improve physical health and nutrition - ‘Step by Step’; the other to improve mental health related issues - ‘the Pop up Shed’. The two components interlink, overlap and complement each other. Veterans can take part in both programmes, but will be initially directed to whichever element of the programme meet their priority health concerns, either mental or physical health in the first instance.
Making a Referral
In order to be a beneficiary of the project and take part in the Healthy Horizons programme, you must have served in the armed forces, completed National Service conscription, or worked in the Merchant Navy in support of the military at some time. You must also be over 65 years old, born on or before 1950, and live in North Yorkshire.
Referrals will be supported by the Project Team to determine what will be the most appropriate and helpful means of support or intervention. Veterans will be able to access as many services as they would like to through the project and choose which activities and opportunities they are interested in.
This service launches on 24 June 2017, Armed Forces Day, and is funded for 3 years.
Download our leaflet and flyer
Download our leaflet giving more information about the project and support available.
Download our flyer which is useful for giving out to your friends and family.
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A new service called ‘Veterans’ Gateway’ is promising to revolutionise a military charity sector that currently leaves over half of veterans ‘confused’, by providing a first point of contact for veterans seeking support.
The ‘Veterans’ Gateway’ will improve access to welfare services and speed-up the time it takes for veterans to receive the support they deserve. The new £2 million service is funded by the Ministry of Defence from the Covenant Fund and will be delivered by a Royal British Legion-led consortium comprising Poppyscotland, Combat Stress, Connect Assist, the Ministry of Defence and SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity.
Independent research commissioned by the consortium reveals that a fifth (20 per cent) of veterans have been referred to between three and 10 charities before eventually finding support, and that more than half (54 per cent) found the sheer number of charity providers confusing; there are now over 2,000 registered Armed Forces charities. The resulting confusion left 45 per cent unsure where to turn. Over 41 per cent of respondents said the number of military charities makes it ‘harder and slower’ to get the right help.
The new 24-hour online chat, phone, and text message service is partly manned by veterans who have been trained to help a British Armed Forces community estimated to be around 6 million and growing by 20,000 annually. Bringing together over 30 referral partners including Veterans UK, Mind and the Career Transition Partnership to name but a few – and with more organisations to be added – veterans and their dependents will be able to access support services in areas including physical health, financial support, assistance with independent living, housing, mental wellbeing, and employment.
To contact Veterans’ Gateway Call: 0808 802 1212 Text: 81212 or visit: www.veteransgateway.org.uk