What we are doing - HAFCP annual review
Herefordshire’s Armed Forces Covenant Partnership (HAFCP), has enabled a number of major projects and funding opportunities to support the county's Armed Forces community. As well as having a strategic overview, HAFCP has topic areas which address key areas of need. These include: housing, healthcare, mental health, schools, employment and training and the criminal justice system. These areas of work are linked to an action plan underpinned by an Armed Forces Community Assessment.
- Download the Executive summary of Herefordshire Armed Forces Community Assessment September 2020
In 2020, Herefordshire Council adopted the Armed Forces as a recognised group in its Equality policy 2020-23. The policy sets out tailored support to the local Armed Forces community, particularly when accessing some public services.
HAFCP undertakes an annual review reporting on recent progress and initiatives. View the Herefordshire Armed Forces Covenant Annual Review 2020-21.
Highlights from the HAFCP annual review 2020-2021
Helping with healthcare
In the provision of healthcare services we are committed to ensure that no member of the Armed Forces, present or past or their family members experience disadvantage due to their military service. We work with our local NHS Trusts, GPs and healthcare providers to ensure the Armed Forces community have fair access to services.
- Taurus Healthcare, the GP Federation signed the Armed Forces Covenant as part of their ongoing commitment to the Covenant.
- 14 out of 19 Herefordshire GP practices are now ‘Veteran-friendly’ under the Royal College of GPs accreditation scheme.
- The Wye Valley Trust gained ‘Veteran Aware’ status under the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance. This places them in a growing group of NHS providers who have agreed to be exemplars of the best care for the Armed Forces community. The Trust also gained silver status under the MOD’s employer recognition scheme
Helping with mental health
The Herefordshire Veterans and Families Mental Health Network, facilitated by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, continues to meet regularly. It draws together relevant groups and organisations from the NHS, military charities, support groups and specialist services. It aims to ensure the development and improvement of local mental health and similar services for all members of the local Armed Forces community, including family members.
- A Suicide Prevention programme for Herefordshire and Worcestershire is now in place looking specifically at middle aged men who may be less likely to access formal healthcare support around mental health.
- Herefordshire & Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and now on their way to achieve its silver employer recognition award and applying for Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance Veteran Friendly accreditation.
- There have been a number of outstanding local initiatives for veterans with dementia including:
- Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire offer weekly sessions using a Maintenance Cognitive Stimulation whilst taking part in meaningful activities.
- Orchestra of the Swan are delivering weekly musical workshops at the Courtyard Hereford for veterans living with dementia. The interactive sessions are delivered by trained musicians who are themselves veterans.
Helping with housing
The Partnership plays an important role to ensure that local housing needs are improved for the Armed Forces community in Herefordshire. As part of their ongoing commitment Herefordshire Council continue to fully adopt all recommended guidance and criteria for the Armed Forces into its housing allocation policy in order to remove disadvantage when applying to the social housing register.
- Clearer advice and guidance for the Armed Forces seeking housing in Herefordshire has been created on Herefordshire Council website.
- Good communication between the Housing Solutions Team and the Armed Forces operational working group for caseworkers helping individuals with complex cases or those who are homeless.
- Herefordshire Council Strategic Housing continue to explore opportunities and partnerships to build further veteran housing and build on the success of the veteran self-build project in Leominster and at the Buchanan Trust.
Helping with education
Representatives from Children & Families Directorate and from the local Garrison HIVE (military families’ information support unit), and third sector partners continue to meet termly and good relationships have developed through the year to support the education and improve outcomes for the children of Service personnel.
- There was an increase in the number of military children (1138), benefitting from Service Pupil Premium in 2021. Schools use the funding to support extra-curricular /pastoral activities.
- Herefordshire has been accepted as a pilot area for wraparound childcare for Service children. It will cover the cost of up 20 hours of before and after-school care during term time for children age 4-11.
- MODLAP is a partnership between the MOD and local authorities in England to support Service children. Herefordshire is now a member on both the MODLAP group and MODLAP SEND (Special Educational Needs) group, allowing Herefordshire to feed into national conversations and developments.
- A comprehensive resource directory for schools and parents has been created on Herefordshire Council website.
Helping with the criminal justice system
The partnership identified the need for a better understanding of veterans in the criminal justice system and welcomed colleagues from YSS: Remember Veterans to oversee this new topic area. Remember Veterans (RV), is jointly funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust and West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner. It is for military veterans who are currently in, or are at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system.
- Through the close working relationship Remember Veterans has with local police custody suites, courts, HM prisons and probationary services we are capturing data and trends in arrest rates.
- By working closely with their clients they provide bespoke support and will broker specialist assistance from other agencies and military charities. Caseworkers develop an intensive 1:1 support plan which aims to enable the veteran to access sustainable, independent living.
- The project also undertakes regular Armed Forces awareness training/refreshers for frontline staff within the CJS system.
Helping with employment and training
We continue to foster good links with training and employment providers through career transition partners, local employers, local skills partnerships and Department of Work and Pensions.
- Department for Work and Pensions launched a team of dedicated Armed Forces coaches across the UK. The West Midlands team are providing a direct referral line for caseworkers and agencies who are supporting working age veterans. Job coaches, the majority of whom have an Armed Forces background themselves are able to offer bespoke support to individuals by assisting with benefits and employment.
- The Military 2 Business event, hosted by NMITE was held in July 2021, attended by over 50 Armed Forces friendly employers and charities. Held outside at Hereford Racecourse, the event welcomed a steady stream from the Armed Forces community seeking support or employment opportunities.
- Herefordshire Veteran Support Centre (HVSC)
- The HVSC achieved charitable status in December 2020.
- Herefordshire Council currently oversees the management of the Centre Manager through grant funding secured.
- The Centre became a Talk Community Hub last year with good networking into the Primary Care Networks, other Talk Community Hubs and links into GPs.
- There is an established veteran-to-veteran volunteering programme that oversees requests for shopping, welfare calls, gardening and signposting for more specialist support, if needed.
- The Trustees and Centre Manager work closely with all other military charities and support organisations to ensure that veterans, Serving members, family members, carers and employers are able to be directed to the support that is needed, and no-one goes without help.
Business and wider covenant
Over 85 Herefordshire businesses are now signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant as Forces-friendly employers. We continue to have excellent links with the MOD’s Regional Employer Engagement Team at West Midlands RFCA.
- Herefordshire based firms: Kinetic Six Ltd and GRC Ltd gained ERS Gold Award status and eight organisations were awarded ERS Silver in 2021.
- Armed Forces Week Events: Flag raising events were held at Hereford Cathedral, the County Hospital, city and town councils. An online social media campaign ran throughout Armed Forces Week profiling local Reservists and related features.
- Ross on Wye Town Council hosted Armed Forces Day on Saturday 25 June, 2022 (Rolled over from 2021)
We have welcomed a range of specialist Armed Forces employment and training organisations who are currently supporting individuals in Herefordshire including: The Poppy Factory, Heropreneurs and Forces Farming.