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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans for the care we provide

Support for the Armed Forces Community – past and present

 

Proudly supporting those who serve and have served

The Armed Forces Community (AFC) – which includes veterans, serving military personnel, reservists, and their families – deserves our utmost respect and backing for their outstanding dedication and sacrifices on behalf of our community and country. 

The demands imposed on the Armed Forces in the course of their duty are unique and set them apart from others who serve and protect society. 

Therefore the Council is determined to fulfil its obligation to them by increasing awareness about, and access to, the support and help available to the AFC. This page is one aspect of this, and is aimed at members of our AFC.

 

Our Commitment to the Armed Forces Community

The Council, along with a number of partners, have officially pledged to work together to support our AFC (past and present) by adopting a local Armed Forces Community Covenant. 

The Covenant is our public commitment to honour the AFC by implementing the national Armed Forces Covenant at a local level. The national covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.

It has two underlying principles to ensure that this promise is fulfilled:

1. Members of the armed forces community should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services; and

2. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most such as the injured or the bereaved.

 

Support for Veterans

Leaving the armed forces can have a huge impact on your life and your family. Not only must you find a new job and housing, but also settle your family into schools, jobs and social activities.

A wide range of services are available from Stockton Council that can help with your resettlement.

The covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local armed forces representatives. It not only recognises the contribution of serving personnel, their families and veterans but importantly it identifies practical ways the Council can help them access support to help them adjust to life after leaving the services.

In turn, the armed forces promote ties with the local community and offer support wherever they can.

Other members of Stockton Strategic Partnership have also signed up to the principles in the Community Covenant, including Cleveland Police, local NHS services, Cleveland Fire Brigade, Job Centre Plus, Teesside Probation Service and Catalyst on behalf of local voluntary and community services.

Read the Stockton Community Covenant document for additional information.

Stockton Borough Council have set up a helpline number on telephone: 01642 528334 for members of the Armed Forces and Ex Forces service personnel which is available Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm.

 

Health services

The Veterans’ Wellbeing Assessment and Liaison Service (VWALS) is a new mental health and wellbeing service to support veterans and their families in the north east. For the very first time, it will provide a single point of access to the range of mental health support services which already exist across the region, making it much easier to get signposted to the right help and support.

For further information and to access the Veterans' Wellbeing Assessment Liaison Service please telephone: 0191 441 5974 or email: vwals@nhs.net

The local mental health trust (Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust) has a dedicated, nationally recognised Community Veterans Mental Health Service which provides tailored support for those who have left the Forces.

Visit the Veterans Wellbeing Group for further information and guidance.

 

Other services

Looking for a job or training? Need advice about resettlement? Trying to work your way through the pensions minefield? You'll find a whole range of useful guides and contacts via the Royal British Legion's Civvy Street website.

The Royal British Legion (RBL) provides practical care, advice and support to serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans of all ages and their families. The RBL run the Poppy Calls Handy Person Service which provides a service for small household repairs and minor adaptations around the home.

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) provide financial, practical and emotional assistance to anyone that is currently serving or has ever served in the Army, Navy or RAF, and their families. 

The Job Centre Plus has dedicated Armed Forces Champions in each area. The contact for Tees Valley is Christina Blaney who can be contacted on telephone: 07966566800 or email: christina.blaney@jobcentreplus.gsi.gov.uk.

Middlesbrough Citizens Advice Bureau provides a dedicated Money and Benefits advice service for veterans across Teesside. For further information please telephone: 01642 802314 or email: blsupport@middlesbroughcab.cabnet.org.uk.

Veterans UK is responsible for pay and pensions provision. They also provide crisis support and welfare information. Veterans UK provides pay, pension and support services to both Military Personnel and the Veterans Community, directly serving around 900,000 personnel.

Finchale Veterans Service is a specialist training college which hosts a veteran’s support network and produces a Directory of Services. Finchale was founded in 1943 as a rehabilitation and resettlement centre for disabled servicemen.

 

Support for Serving Personnel and their families  

There are several initiatives as part of the Armed Forces Covenant designed to provide support for serving personnel and their families.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) armed forces charity has produced an "Additional needs and disability: a guide for families" publication which includes a directory of support across all 3 services.

There is a 'A to Z' about working, jobs and pensions for armed forces on the Government website. 

Here are some real life examples of how the armed forces covenant can help:

 

Support for Reservists and their families 

As a reservist, there’s a great deal of support available to you.  At every stage of a reservist’s career, there are rights and responsibilities for both reservists and employersAs some are governed by law (e.g. the legal right to reinstatement in civilian jobs after a period of mobilised service), it’s important to be aware of them.  

The ‘Defence Relationship Management’ (DRM) service has been set up as a single point of contact linking employers with the MOD. It offers advice and support on employing members of the armed forces community.

If you have any questions that are not answered in the rights and responsibilities for reservists and employers, or you are experiencing difficulties with your employer, you can contact your Unit Employer Support Officer.

Each unit has an Employer Support Officer who is the main authority on employer issues. Your detachment commander or Permanent Staff Administrative Officer (PSAO) will be able to put you in touch. Employer Support Officers can give you legal advice or tips on how best to talk to your employer to encourage them to support your reserve service.

You can also contact the DRM Helpline (0800) 389 5459 from Monday to Friday between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, or report disadvantage at work online.

 

Commercial Disadvantage 

Due to the mobility of service, personnel and their families can often be disadvantaged in the provision of commercial products and services compared to other citizens. This is called commercial disadvantage.

Overcoming it is a priority for the Government and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). They are very keen to hear from anyone who feels they have suffered this disadvantage because of their own, or a family members’ service. You can highlight issues by completing this short survey