We know that our families live across the country and you are often the ‘hidden military community’ so we want to make sure that the organisations you engage with on a daily basis understand what life is like for Naval families, whether you live close to a base or in the middle of a land-locked county!
One of the hurdles that has come up time and again when we talk to local authorities is that they want to know about Service life and how is it different to life on civvy street. What is the truth behind some of the myths about the military culture and lifestyle? Which other organisations support Service families and how can local authority staff contact them? We created a Covenant Toolkit to provide some of this information, but it was apparent that more could, and should, be done to inform those who engage with the Armed Forces in the local community.
Warwickshire identified not only the challenge but also a potential solution and were swift to pick up the baton. We were delighted that we could offer some support and have been helping in the development of e-learning packages to bridge that gap, with Jenny Ward calling on her bank of knowledge taking the NFF lead. The modules that have been created so far form a suite of training packages are not only innovative and hugely informative, but give front line staff a superb resource and window into what life looks like for each of the Armed Services.
The training modules are interactive and include video and audio clips, as well as Q&A, to get information across in an interesting and user-friendly way. The first e-learning training package includes:
• A Fact or Fiction section which looks at issues faced by current and former Armed Forces personnel and their families
• An insight into the world of the military and how it compares to civilian life
• Some experiences of being in the military and life afterwards
• Sources of support for current and former Armed Forces personnel and their families
The MoD also recognises the benefits of informing and raising awareness amongst those working in the statutory and voluntary sectors and was with great delight that the e-learning programme was awarded additional funding by the MoD Covenant Fund. This has allowed the working group to expand the range of modules to be provided and, over the coming months, online training courses for Serving personnel and their families will also be made available, as well as specialised training for those dealing with the housing and homelessness issues faced by veterans and their families. A fifth module for those who support serving personnel and their families as they transition back to civilian life in the local community will also be developed, and our Transition Officer, Lucy Heaver, will be working with the group on this too.
Another benefit of these training modules is that they will all be made available, free of charge, to local authorities, community and voluntary sector organisations across the UK. The first module for front-line staff was launched in February 2017 and more than 60 councils and other statutory organisations across the country have already requested a copy, so the hope is that their staff are now completing this training too and will have a much better of what life is like for you and your family.
Next time you speak to someone from your local council, why not ask them if they have heard about this great resource too?