Thank you for all your ongoing support to Surrey’s communities particularly during this difficult time. As you are aware, there are many different communities within the county, and today we particularly wanted to highlight our Armed Forces community who are often hidden from sight.
Surrey has a large armed forces population and within the county there are over 42,000 veterans and ex-service men and women, 6,200 serving personnel, 250 reservists and 1,285 service children in 188 of our schools. In addition, and as part of the Armed Forces community, there are many military spouses and widows who also form part of that community. All of them might need help and support at some time.
You may have heard of the Armed Forces Covenant (https://www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk/) . This is a promise from the Nation to help ensure that our Armed Forces are treated fairly and that they and their families are not disadvantaged as a result of their service. All Surrey’s local authorities, as well as a number of local organisations and businesses in the county, have already signed the Armed Forces Covenant.
As part of its ongoing commitment under the Covenant, Surrey County Council has been providing training to frontline staff about the needs of the Armed Forces community and the specific help and support that is available to them. This training is also available free of charge to the voluntary and community sector – If your organisation would like to access this training (which is currently online due to Covid-19), please email email@example.com to organise this.
As well as the help and support provided for all Surrey residents, there are also a number of Armed Forces charities and organisations that provide specific support for the wider Armed Forces community, and this support can be in addition to the support provided by statutory bodies as well as organisations such as yours. In order to make it easy for members of the Armed Forces, as well as those who have previously served and their families, to access this support, the ‘Forces Connect’ mobile app has been developed. This is free to download for both Apple and Android and can be used by members of the Armed Forces community, or those who are providing support. Please do download this app and encourage others within your organisation to do the same.
Two of the main Armed Forces service charities – SSAFA Surrey and The Royal British Legion Surrey can provide additional direct support to individuals and families of those who have served – this can include help with mobility aids, white goods, care home fees, home adaptations and financial assistance (all means tested). In the first instance, if you are working with a member of the wider Armed Forces community and they need some additional support please do contact either SSAFA Surrey (firstname.lastname@example.org) or The Royal British Legion directly (0808 802 8080) – their full contact details are in the Forces Connect app. Alternatively, please visit www.surreycc.gov.uk/armedforces.
Finally, if you are working with anyone, whether from the Armed Forces community or not, who has been adversely affected by Covid-19 and needs some additional support, maybe around befriending or access to food or medication please visit: www.surreycc.gov.uk/coronavirus for further information and help.
HM Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Chair, Community Foundation for Surrey
Michael More-Molyneux Jim Glover OBE DL