Developing A Veteran Support Hub - Written by Gary Lamb
Four years ago, Walking With The Wounded set up a regional hub in Manchester. The aim was to be able to reach more veterans in the North West of the country. I joined the charity following the BBC DIY SOS Big Build of the Manchester Veterans village. Today I celebrate 4 years in the role.
When I joined the charity, I took on the role of Associate Director & North West Regional Manager. Walking With The Wounded had already developed a number of pathways that enabled those in need to access services in relation to mental health, employment and training, although this was not being delivered out of a specific venue that had solely been created to act as a hub for those requiring it. As a collective, the Manchester team discussed approaches and ‘wants’ with some of the early Manchester beneficiaries and began to map out how and what we were going to offer. We were mindful that other military charities were delivering services across Manchester and further afield and we had to ensure that our offer complimented theirs.
To further develop the Manchester hub, I utilised contacts, friends, ex-colleagues, businesses, training providers, and much more, and I explained to each person / organisation I met the vision of what Walking With The Wounded wanted to create. The Manchester Hub provides a highly rated service to those in need from across the North West. Since opening, we have assisted 444 to gain employment and have enabled 134 to access their own accommodation and a further 78 into supported living accommodation as well as enabling access to areas such as training and volunteering. We have developed numerous partnerships and have huge support from the corporate, statutory and charity sectors across Greater Manchester and beyond.
The Manchester Team is now 10 strong and working with the mind-set of ensuring we deliver to our key values. We now provide a raft of services, which are available to ex-military, and their families. The team has a real passion and drive to assist those who require support, information, advice and guidance and without them, we would not be able to undertake the fantastic work we are now delivering. Thank You!
Services now available are:
This fantastic service is provided directly to family members of those who have served in HM Forces, it is the first of its kind in the North West and the model aims to establish and maintain relationships with family members and focus on their priority needs and issues.
Individual Placement Support:
Delivered in partnership with the NHS, two of the team assist ex-service personnel who have received treatment for mental health issues to find employment and rebuild their lives. The service has impacted so many and has enabled individuals to build confidence, has organised work placements, sourced funding for any required training and ultimately assisted in securing sustainable employment for the individual in need
In 2018, we became an IPS Centre of Excellence for Veterans by the Centre for Mental Health - the first of its kind in the world.
A unique service, which provides 1-2-1 private therapy for ex-service personnel with mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and adjustment disorder. This amazing service makes a real positive impact on veterans and their families.
Northern Care Coordination Partnership:
Recently we were chosen to take part in delivering, designing and launching a new programme (as a pilot) across the North West and North East. It has been designed to help reach and support the most complex mental health needs veterans, their families and carers. We are very excited and proud to be delivering this type of provision.
Welfare & Employment Support:
We offer proactive, early intervention support for ex-service personnel and over the last few years, we have seen a significant change in the needs of some of the clients we meet from requiring housing, employment, mental health support or just a chat. With the assistance of housing partners, employers, NHS and many more, (you know who you are), we have had the pleasure to change the lives of over 500 veterans.
Supporting Veterans in Police Custody:
The North West Regional Project Nova team has grown from strength to strength. Supporting those who have been arrested or are at risk of arrest, to prevent further downward spiral and continued offending by supporting them back into mainstream society is not an easy job to do, although I know every one of them do it with pride and passion.
Next year the charity is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, which is a huge success. All of you who have supported us has enabled this to happen, you will be hearing a lot more about this soon.
To everyone who has assisted us to make the last 4 years a success, provided us with your continued support and assistance I would like to THANK YOU all, without it we would not be able to do the amazing work we do.