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 - HIS Article

Delivering front line services during the Covid-19 pandemic:

A Third Sector Point of View, written by Simon Lock

Charities have faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, no different from many sectors over the last 12 months. As an organisation delivering front-line services, Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) has had to adapt and look at how we can deliver our services to the ex-military community whilst keeping our staff and beneficiaries safe.


Back in March 2020, the charity had new support programmes coming online. WWTW partnered with the NHS and were supporting the roll-out of the new High Intensity Service (HIS), an NHS commissioned pathfinder to support ex-military and their families who find themselves in a crisis. Alongside HIS, we were supporting veterans who were struggling with their mental health through Head Start, WWTW’s mental health programme, supporting veterans back into work through our Employment Advisors, as well as working out our Project Nova team who work to identify and support veterans on the periphery of the criminal justice system.


At this time and in-line with government guidelines, face to face support stopped. Overnight, the organisation came together to evaluate the situation and to determine how we could continue to support those who served whilst keeping everyone safe.  


The WWTW team developed a risk assessment which looked at the need of the beneficiary, if the staff member or any member of their family was shielding, if PPE was available, and if social distancing was achievable. This process allowed our teams, particularly those working in HIS, to start thinking about how to deliver face-to-face services to the veterans and their families most in need; and all staff members were given the option to deliver services virtually or in-person with full PPE when it was safe to do so.


By Autumn, when our newly integrated NHS HIS teams, came to discuss face-to-face visits, the WWTW team were confident that they could deliver this type of service safely. So far, our frontline staff have had no reported cases of Covid-19 infections. Since October, the HIS joint NHS/WWTW team (along with other partners such as STOLL) have supported over 50 veterans in crisis with face-to-face visits during the pandemic.  


Throughout the pandemic, the team at WWTW and the NHS have gone above and beyond to provide a lifeline to our most disadvantaged beneficiaries and their families.


The spouse of a client said, “Thank you to the HIS team and all the support that me and my husband have received, I am feeling really positive in regard to my husband moving forward from his current difficulties that have been ongoing for 2 years”.


Find out more about NHS Trusts providing HIS below: 

Leeds and Yorkshire HIS

Solent HIS

Camden and Islington HIS