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Help for Heroes' local community team have worked alongside other organisations in the Plymouth area to launch a series of new outreach hubs for the Armed Forces community in the city.

These new hubs will show veterans, service personnel and their families what support is available in the Plymouth area and most importantly that they are not alone. They are launched at a time when data from the 2021 Census reveals that over 18,000 veterans live in the city.

Our own data from the same period as the Census shows that at that time, we were supporting almost 1,500 individuals affected by their service across Devon. With 12 times that number of veterans living within Plymouth alone, we recognise there are many more who could need support.

18,279 Veterans Live in the city of Plymouth.

source: 2021 Census of England and Wales.

A team effort

The move to open outreach hubs for the Armed Forces community has been a collaborative effort driven by our local community team in tandem with the Armed Forces Community Social Prescriber for Plymouth Becky Ormrod, Improving Lives Plymouth, Op Courage (the veterans’ mental health service from the NHS), Veterans UK, Royal British Legion, Team Endeavour Wheelchair Rugby Club, and Armed Forces champions from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Becky Ormrod, Armed Forces Community Social Prescriber for Plymouth, said: “The Census data shows the need of support services for the Armed Forces community. That’s not saying all veterans or even those serving need support but, should they or their families need it in Plymouth, these charities and organisations are coming together as one to help, like a family unit within the military.

“Our first outreach hub at Chaddlewood Farm Community Centre has been really successful. We’ve had lots of organisations attend and lots of people dropping in for all different reasons, and it can only grow from here. We’ll listen to the needs of the Armed Forces community to do that.”

Charities and organisations are coming together as one to help, like a family unit within the military.

Becky Ormrod

Armed Forces Community Social Prescriber for Plymouth

The response from the Armed Forces community

One of our Case Managers, Paul Mouncher, explained: “We have all come together to drive a better Armed Forces community connection in the Plymouth area.

“Often, those who are in or have been in the Forces aren’t sure where they can go to speak to someone who will understand, or who knows what’s available for them and where. And, crucially, where they can find help and support.

“The outreach hub is there to bridge that gap for them: a one-stop shop with all the charities and organisations together in one place, so the Armed Forces community can come for a chat and a cuppa and enquire about the available support in welfare, clinical, mental health, and sporting activities.”

Outreach hub staff engage with veterans in Plymouth.
One of the outreach hubs in action - Help for Heroes

Veteran Roch Rochester, who has been supported by us and other organisations, and attended the outreach hub representing Team Endeavour Wheelchair Rugby Club which he now runs to support others, said:

“All the charities coming together give that option of wraparound support for veterans and others in the Armed Forces community in need, or even if they’re not in need just for a social connection. Some of our rugby players have gone on to do cycling or canoeing or sailing; it’s all those connections that help to build our community.

“Help for Heroes and others really helped me when I was in a dark place. All these organisations I didn’t know were there for me. I always thought it was for other guys and their injuries.”

Now, I have a voice in that community. I can knock on a door and ask for help for myself or others, but many years ago I couldn’t. For me it’s great to see this happening.

Roch Rochester

Veteran

Attending a hub

The hubs will be at Chaddlewood Farm Community Centre in Glen Road (PL7 2XS) on the second Thursday of each month (3-7pm), at Ernest English House in Buckwell Street (PL1 2DA) on the third Wednesday of each month (9am-7pm) and at Four Greens Community Trust, Whitleigh Green (PL5 4DD) on the last Wednesday of each month, starting on 30 November (4-8pm).

If you would like to attend one of the Armed Forces community outreach hubs, please contact Paul Mouncher at paul.mouncher@helpforheroes.org.uk for further details.

We support members of the Armed Forces community across the UK to live well after service. If you are a veteran, serving member of the Armed Forces, or a loved one and need support, get in touch and ask for help.

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