Showing veterans the way

A new service aimed at ensuring veterans get the care they need is being launched in Plymouth.

Plymouth City Council have teamed up with Improving Lives Plymouth to unveil the Veterans Care Navigation Service (VCNS), which will ensure that all ex-service people receive consistent and targeted advice and care that ensures a smooth transition between military and civilian life.

Although work on the VCNS has already begun but it will formally launch to the public on Friday, 16 June at Ernest English House.

Councillor Lynda Bowyer, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “Plymouth and the Armed Forces have a long lasting association and so it is only right that we have the services in place that support those who have served their country.

“The Veterans Care Navigation Service will improve what we can offer and ensure that as a community, we can provide the right service to the right people when they need it most.”

Although there is not currently an accurate picture of the Plymouth veteran population, official data estimates that there are around 20,000 veterans in the city.

As part of its work to fulfil the priorities agreed within the Plymouth Armed Forces Community Covenant, Plymouth City Council and the new Devon Clinical Commissioning Group have developed a strategy that details ways to support services for veterans and their dependants.

The VCNS will work with existing services that specifically support veterans to further develop the skills required to support ex-service people to access wider support services such as specialist mental health or substance misuse services. Meanwhile it will help wider services to improve their skills and knowledge regarding the specific needs of veterans.

The service will work with the military community where veterans are preparing for discharge, and offer information, advice, signposting and personalised support.

Ensuring that veterans are prepared for civilian life is also key to the service, with employment support given to ensure that veterans are work ready.

The VCNS comes after the launch of the Veterans’ Strategic Commissioning Framework and has been funded by a £80,000 awarded to Plymouth from the LIBOR fines, announced by the Government in the Autumn Statement.