What is the Armed Forces Network for Sussex and Kent & Medway?
The Armed Forces Network (AFN) started in Sussex in 2011 and is a multi-organisational group which includes members from the NHS, MoD, Armed Forces Reservists, Mental and Physical Health Clinicians, the Royal British Legion, SSAFA and other interested charities and organisations from across Sussex (i.e. police and local authorities). In July 2016, this model was rolled out to Kent and Medway and is commissioned by the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across both Sussex and Kent & Medway.
The members work together to improve the lives of the Armed Forces community (ex and serving personnel and their immediate families). The AFN also includes Service Champions from a wide range of the organisations across both counties who are advocates for the Armed Forces community and have the skills and knowledge to support through direct service provision, linking with other organisations or signposting to where additional support could be received. It is managed by the Armed Forces Director for both Sussex and Kent & Medway CCGs.
The Sussex Armed Forces Network is Chaired by a Clinical Director from the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Kent and Medway Armed Forces Network is Chaired by a GP. Each Network aims to facilitate the CCGs and the local community in the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant Commitment.
In November 2014, the AFN won a National Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award for its work on education, training and research with local military personnel. The AFN was commended for its work on developing a unique set of relationships to ensure organisations are identifying and meeting the specific needs of the Armed Forces community through local health and care services.
The Support Team has continued to develop and deliver a range of resources, many of which are contained within this website. These included a wide range of CPD and other accredited courses, factsheets, flip tools of contacts, topic area specific pathways. This continued growth has been recognised in the national Soldiering On Awards where the Network has been a finalist for the past two years.
The Network and team will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary with a range of activities including the annual Together We Can Make a Difference conference on Tuesday 19 January 2021.
Direct support is also offered to the Armed Forces Community or professionals/charities which can be accessed by contacting the Network.
Chair of the Sussex Armed Forces Network
Dr Nick Lake is a Senior Clinical Director at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation NHS Trust. As a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Nick has a specialist clinical interest in working with people who are suffering from the effects of trauma, particularly veterans. He is also a Champion for veterans within the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Clinical Lead for the Kent and Medway Armed Forces Network
Dr David Chesover has been at Thornhills Medical Practice for 26 years and a senior partner for the past five. He is a GP member of the NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body as Clinical Lead for Mental Health. David is also the Chair of the Kent and Medway Armed Forces Network Group.
Armed Forces Director
Kate Parkin is the Armed Forces Director for both the Sussex and Kent & Medway Armed Forces Networks working across all 15 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups within this footprint. Kate has been providing the leadership for Sussex Armed Forces Network since 2011 and since July 2016 has been working in Kent and Medway. Previously Kate has had significant clinical experience, operational and delivering a complex programme of work through teams, across organisational boundaries, and these include: reviews, strategic summits, multi-commissioner procurements, evidence based case for changes, supporting large public consultations for service reconfiguration and option appraisals and the delivery of change.
Carers, Families and Mental Health Training Lead
Jane Burt’s work for the Network focuses on support and recognition for carer’s and families from the armed and ex armed forces community. Jane has worked extensively in the voluntary sector for services that provide specialist support to informal carer’s including mental health carers. Jane also has significant experience in engagement and consultation. Jane is also a trained Mental Health First Aid instructor and leads on providing this within the Network.
Amanda Jameson provides the administrative support to the Network, overseeing the website and the organisation of training and events. Amanda has worked in the NHS for over 20 years and has been supporting the Network since its creation in Sussex in 2011.
The Royal British Legion South East Area team (pictured) provides practical, emotional and financial support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present, and their families. Whether it is families coping with the loss of a loved one, help at home to adapt to independent living, recovery centres for injured personnel, money and careers advice or residential care: we are here to help.
They actively campaign to improve their lives and safeguard the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. Their mission is to provide welfare, comradeship, representation and Remembrance for the Armed Forces community.
Contact them on 0808 802 8080 seven days a week.
SSAFA the Armed Forces charity, is the oldest military charity and was established in 1885. SSAFA provides lifelong support for those who are serving or who have ever served in the British Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines or the Royal Air Force, and their families. Eligibility is based on ‘one day of paid service’ and help is provided whenever there is hardship, loneliness or need.
SSAFA works closely with the other Service charities and also occupational and generic charities. Practical and financial assistance is provided in varied ways: it may be helping to pay a war widow’s heating bill, dealing with housing and care problems, providing debt guidance, friendship, helping a family with a disabled child, funeral costs, arranging the provision of essential disability equipment or providing financial assistance for the purchase of clothing or household goods.
The SSAFA Sussex Branch was awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service in July 2015 (pictured).
To contact the SSAFA Sussex Branch, please telephone the Branch Secretary on 0800 169 9060
To contact the SSAFA Kent & Medway Branch, please telephone the Branch Secretary on 01622 792363
The main aims for the Network are: