Forces in Mind Trust aims to provide an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery in order to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives. (You can read more about this here.)
The organisation has generously sponsored the Soldiering On FiMT Working Together Award for four years, recognising people, teams and organisations that have demonstrated an enduring commitment and collaborative approach to supporting the sector within the wider community.
Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust says, “This is our fourth year sponsoring the ‘Working Together’ award, and over that time we’ve seen some great examples of collaboration, from last year’s winner – the Cobseo Housing Cluster, to our first individual joint-winner, the amazing Rob Cromey-Hawke.
“What makes all the Finalists in every one of the four years stand out, is the way in which each has been determined to work together with others; not an end in itself, of course, but as a means to achieving far more than any individual or organization could alone.
“When we looked at the extraordinary stories of the great number of nominations, we quickly realized that whittling the list down to finalists was going to be hard enough, let alone picking one out as an overall winner. And genuinely, all the nominations are winners in their chosen field.
“So, my congratulations to the 2019 Finalists: the teams behind Project Nova, the Sussex Armed Forces Network, Unforgotten Forces and the Veterans’ Gateway. Collectively you have shown what real collaboration looks like, and the positive impact it can have. We are going to fully exploit your stories and the examples you provide, so that the whole sector supporting the Armed Forces Community can get a sense of how much more can be achieved when we are all, truly, ‘Working Together’”
The Finalists for the FiMT Working Together Award are:
Project Nova are Finalists in two categories this year, so you may recognise them from our recent Healthcare and Rehabilitation blog! Supporting veterans who have been arrested or are at risk of being arrested, the Project works in partnership with 15 Police Forces across the country. It has seriously reduced re-offending rates and has been recognised by Magistrates and Judges who have told defendants that, had they not been involved with the Project, they would be facing a custodial sentence. It also supports the partners and children of those veterans who find themselves in the courts or police cells.
The Project’s staff come from a variety of backgrounds with experience in the Armed Forces, Criminal Justice System and charities.
Often dealing with serious mental health cases, most of the cohort are complex individuals with complex needs – including anger management, debt, substance abuse, housing, as well as mental and physical health issues. Project Nova has also compiled a database of Offender Friendly employers across the UK to help the veterans and their families get back to a more stable life.
Find out more about Project Nova here.
Sussex Armed Forces Network Team
The Sussex Armed Forces Network was established in 2011 and includes experts from the NHS, MoD, reservists, veterans, the RBL and SSAFA – as well as other organisations such as the police and fire service.
The team that oversees the Network is managed by the Director of the NHS Armed Forces Community on behalf of the 15 Clinical Commissioning Groups for Sussex, Kent and the Medway. They are providing a superb service to the military community they serve, offering faster access to care, along with an information bank on everything from service life to suicide prevention. They currently engage each year with around 3000 people from the Armed Forces Community and directly support 240. Their annual event, “Working Together Can Make a Difference” has been described as “a tremendous event and showcase for real and practical support delivered to the AFC.” Other feedback from people who have benefitted from the Network’s services includes the quote, “They speak our language, they get it!”
Find out more about the Sussex Armed Forces Network Team here.
So, bringing together 15 diverse, ground-breaking organisations, Unforgotten Forces was formed. The consortium offers services that help to tackle issues such as healthcare, transport, social isolation and creativity, as well as assisting people living in care settings. The impact Unforgotten Forces makes on the people who benefit from its services is life-changing; therefore, as the organisation continues to exceed its own ambitions, it hopes that its model will be taken on by others in the military sector and beyond.
Unforgotten Forces is funded by a £4million award from HM Treasury via the Aged Veterans Fund – one of the largest awards in the Funds history.
Find out more about Unforgotten Forces here.
Veterans’ Gateway Team
Veterans’ Gateway was launched in 2016 in response to the MoD’s call to arms for a 24/7 service for the Armed Forces Community in the form of the Covenant Fund. It had identified a need for “around the clock access” for families, friends and carers to be able to quickly and easily gain support, advice and information, no matter what they need.
This challenge saw existing teams from four military charities join forces: The Royal British Legion, SSAFA, Combat Stress and Poppy Scotland. Together with Connect Assist, a company that builds relationships between third sector organisations and their service users, they created a contact centre, web portal and digital channels for the military family.
The contact centre is now manned predominantly by veterans, or people who actually use the services, enabling them to provide a genuine understanding of the situation faced by many of their callers. To date, they have dealt with more than 15,000 calls.
Using social media, they are ensuring that people of all ages are able to receive the help and support they need. Working with more than 35 referral partners, including housing organisations, the NHS, the Veterans’ Advice and Pensions Committee – as well as volunteer organisations, the Veterans’ Gateway is continuing to make contact with hard to reach veterans and those who may not realise that they qualify for support.
Find out more about Veterans’ Gateway here.
In the press…
At the time of writing, the following FiMT Finalists have been showcased in the press:
- Project Nova were interviewed on ITV Anglia on January 16th.
- Unforgotten Forces have appeared in the Scottish news section of the Daily Record.
Keep an eye – and ear – open for more news about them and all our superb Finalists!
Click here to see the full list of the Soldiering On Awards independent judges who have the difficult task of reviewing each year’s nominations.
You can see our full list of Finalists in each category here, and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter (if you haven’t already!) for regular updates on Finalists, Awards Night and how you can get involved!