As some of you may already know the Armed Forces Community Support Hub was set up at St Loye’s Foundation as part of the Transitions Programme (Military & Veterans Support) back at the beginning of 2014. Subsequently St Loye’s merged with another charity CCT becoming Step One Charity who decided to cease funding for the project and consequently the “Hub” sadly closed on the 31st March 2017 despite continuing success.
At that time, I had already been working closely with Trevor Philpott of The Veterans Change Partnership and as a result of the Hub closure we decided to join forces (excuse the pun) which resulted in the re-opening of the VCP Hub in November of this year in the CoLab.
My, what a four months it has been! The reception we have had from clients and partners alike has been great and we have been welcomed back into the fold of veterans support services very graciously and now happily continue to work closely and build on our relationships with Help for Heroes, SSAFA, Royal British Legion, NHS Devon Partnership Trust, British Army, HMP Prison Service, Veterans UK, DWP, Combat Stress, Warrior Programme, Running Deer, The Officers Association, Devon Air Ambulance Trust to name but a few, dealing with a plethora of issues including Mental Health, Housing, Education, Employment, Welfare, Benefits as well as providing Career Change Coaching and Life Coaching.
Mini Mouncher, key support worker at H4H said, “When Transitions and The Hub closed it was a big loss to H4H and to the WIS veterans. Our veteran’s coverage reduced overnight as there was no communal place to meet up and do interviews. At the time the original Hub closed I was visiting weekly to meet new WIS veterans who had been referred to us by Transitions/The Hub. Mark visits and assists veterans down at the Recovery Centre in Plymouth and our collaborative work has picked up from where it left of in March 2017. I see the Hub as a vital link for H4H in Exeter and the surrounding area and I look forward to building on our partnership in the future”.
Jo Winterburn, CEO of Running Deer said, “We are delighted that the Veterans Hub is open again and very much look forward to working in partnership with them, helping our former armed services personnel within the community”.
Mr D – Client said, “When working with The Hub before, Mark and Roy gave me much needed support providing stability, focus, direction and re-establishing my sense of self-worth. When the Hub closed available support became hard to access and was minimal leaving me feeling stranded and floundering. Since the Hub has re-opened my confidence has grown, once again I have a real time practical support and guidance which has resulted in me securing a volunteer role supporting veterans and the chance to give something back”.
Mr R – Client said, “When the Hub closed I felt a huge sense of loss as my immediate support network disappeared overnight leaving me feeling very isolated. I am so relieved that is open again and that Mark and the Team are there to continue supporting me in my recovery” Numbers engaging have been excellent with over 50 boys and girls on the books already and more on the Horizon. We have already placed a number of clients back into sustainable employment, as well as providing volunteer opportunities and work experience placements using our contacts within the local community.
On a final note I would to thank everyone in the Colab for their welcome and kindness. Trevor, Daz and myself have made a number of new friends and colleagues and we look forward to working with you all for a long time to come.
Mark J Littlewood
VCP HUB Manager