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Venture Trust Community Links Workers providing extra support for Veterans

Venture Trust has employed two Community Links Workers to improve and increase the charity’s support of veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life.

The workers, one based in Glasgow and the second in Edinburgh, will engage with local and national support organisations to raise awareness and knowledge of Venture Trust’s programmes for ex Armed Forces Personnel – particularly those with a history of offending behaviours or those reluctant to self-identify as veterans or engage with support.

One of the focuses will be on bridging the gap between veteran and civilian organisations to reach ‘hidden veterans’.

With over 50 veterans’ organisations in Scotland alone, there is no shortage of services being offered to veterans after they leave the Armed Forces. These services typically support veterans who are older people, have been wounded or are suffering from recognised mental health issues along with those struggling with the transition to civilian life.

However, research findings from Venture Trust and insights from the organisation’s work with ex-servicemen and women has highlighted there is a small but significant group of struggling working-age veterans who are not accessing existing support services. These are the ‘hidden veterans’.

There are challenges for organisations working with ex-service personnel who don’t immediately identify themselves as ‘veterans’. Some don’t know they are eligible for support, including ESLs and reservists. Some “don’t think they deserve it” or think “other veterans deserve it more than them”. For others, issues emerge many years after leaving the Armed Forces - issues which may or may not have been caused by their forces’ experience - so there is a reluctance to seek support from veterans’ organisations. Studies reveal ESLs along with veterans caught up in the criminal justice system are most at risk of making a poor transition from service to civilian life, so it is important these groups are engaged to access available support.

By employing two dedicated staff who have served in the Armed Forces or have experience of working with the Armed Forces, Venture Trust will further strengthen and broaden its partnerships with military charities, the wider third sector and public sector agencies to reach hidden veterans more effectively.

Venture Trust helps struggling veterans – no matter how long their military service – work towards achieving their personal goals. These could be re-deploying skills learnt within the military, finding a home, rebuilding broken relationships, working towards living a healthy, safe and stable life, retraining or applying for a job or utilising their skills through volunteering.

Newly appointed Community Links Worker (East) Karen Holmes said: “This role is very important as there are ex-military personnel out there that can benefit from Venture Trust’s programmes.

Karen is a former servicewoman and understands the importance of getting support when faced with challenges transitioning to civilian life. After overcoming her challenges with the support of Venture Trust she is now working for us.

“I strongly believe in the programmes they run as I was once a participant. You get support all the way through the three-phase programme of personal development.

“This is my dream job, I will be helping ex-military personnel, but I will be also promoting the organisation and the work we do. I hope to make Venture Trust more visible to other military and civilian organisations and to engage in partnerships with them,” she said.

“If you are thinking of attending Positive Futures or referring a client, go to the website, get in touch and send in a referral form. Don’t wait. It could be you next making positive changes and looking at a positive future.”

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The positions of the Community Links Workers are made possible by funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

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