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Vital service gives veterans helping hand

Northumberland Gazette latest
Northumberland Gazette latest

Northumberland County Council has become one of the first local authorities in the country to offer a dedicated service to help the Armed Forces community.

The council now employs two Armed Forces outreach workers who can help with a broad range of issues, including housing, education and training, employment, mental health and social welfare. The roles are funded through The Gateshead Housing Company.

Northumberland is part of the Armed Forces Outreach Service partnership, which also covers County Durham and Tyneside.

The service is unique in employing outreach workers who work solely with the Armed Forces community, and is the only scheme of its kind in the country.

Jonny Harrison and Paul Havelock, both ex-Royal Navy, have been dealing with high volumes of cases since joining the council six months ago. They have been working with serving officers and veterans on issues including post traumatic stress disorder, homelessness and financial issues.

Once a referral is made, with many coming from the council’s housing team, an initial assessment call is made to establish what the individual’s needs are.

Working closely with external partners such as SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, the Royal British Legion and the Regular Forces Employment Agency, they help them get the advice and support they need to start a new life outside the Armed Forces.

Jonny said: “Coming out of the Forces can be daunting. We can help put veterans on the right path to settling back into civilian life.”

To contact the team, email jonathan.harrison@northumberland.gov.uk or paul.havelock@northumberland.gov.uk