Image demonstrating Outreach Workers support Armed Forces through pandemic and beyond 

Outreach Workers support Armed Forces through pandemic and beyond 

As we approach Armed Forces Day (Saturday 26 June), Northumberland County Council is highlighting the important role its Armed Forces Outreach Workers have played in supporting the Armed Forces Community during the pandemic. 
The Outreach Workers, Jonathon and Faye, offer support to current and ex-service personnel, veterans, their families, and widowers right across the county

Over the course of the pandemic, they handled over 215 referrals assisting with issues such as housing and medical applications, employment support, mental health, benefits, as well as signposting and referring to other veteran organisations for further help. 

Working in partnership with SSAFA and the service charities, the outreach team have also successfully generated £42,500 of grants to help pay for carpets, white and brown goods, removal costs, funeral costs, transport costs, rental bonds, upfront rent and food vouchers.   

Northumberland County Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Jeff Watson said: 
For many, leaving service life and adapting to civilian life can be difficult. Some have been in the services since they were 16 years of age, so to start a new life again can naturally be very daunting and the pandemic has added to these challenges. “ 

“Our outreach workers provide a single point of contact for advice and support and throughout the pandemic, they have played an invaluable role in supporting our service community.” 

The Outreach Workers also have links with the Personnel Recovery Centre at Catterick Garrison to effectively support those medically discharged from the armed forces and returning to Northumberland.  

Veteran Champion and Northumberland County Councillor Gordon Castle, himself a veteran of 25 years' experience as a senior RAF Officer said: 
“In employment ex-servicemen are disciplined, committed and have an excellent track record that can be relied upon and so many have gone on to forge successful careers. 

“Unfortunately, due to the horrors of war, some of our service personnel have experienced PTSD and as a consequence can struggle in other areas of life including employment, housing, financially and within relationships. In Northumberland, our Armed Forces Community is not forgotten. We understand they may face personal challenges after serving their country and are here to support them to work through them. 

“Our Armed Forces Community Outreach Workers are veterans themselves and understand better than anyone the issues they face.” 
Northumberland County Council is regarded as one of the most proactive authorities in providing support to serving personnel, reservists, cadets, adult Instructors and their families. It received the MOD Employers Recognition Silver Award in 2015 and the Gold Award in 2018. 

“I am incredibly proud of all the work the council does to help and support our service community, and the outreach work is just part of that work.” Councillor Castle added. 

If you are within your last 6 months of Armed Forces Service, and you feel like you are at risk of homelessness or need general advice, please
contact experienced veteran Outreach Workers: 
Jonathan Harrison 
Fay McLellan 
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