The Sussex, Kent and Medway Armed Forces Network (AFN) is celebrating its success at the national Soldiering On Awards after being named the winner of The Forces in Mind Trust’s Working Together Award. This national prize recognises the AFN’s hard work to make sure people with a Forces background can get support and help on issues including physical or mental health, housing or employment, welfare or social needs.
Kate Parkin, Director of the Sussex, Kent and Medway AFN, said: “We are delighted and slightly overwhelmed to win as these awards are the BAFTAs of the Armed Forces Community! It’s a wonderful acknowledgement of the work that the team is doing to support the Armed Forces community locally. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we have without our partner statutory organisations and charities, who play an integral part in the work that we do, so this award is for them too.”
The Sussex, Kent and Medway Armed Forces Network includes experts from the NHS, MoD, reservists, veterans, the Royal British Legion and SSAFA as well as other organisations such as the police and fire service. The members work together to improve the lives of the armed forces community. The network also includes over 1100 champions from a wide range of the organisations across Sussex, Kent and Medway who are advocates for the armed forces community and have the skills and knowledge to support them. The Network Team currently engage each year with around 3000 people from the Armed Forces Community and directly support over 1000.
The national Soldering On Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have served their country, and the diverse people and groups who work together in support of the Armed Forces Community. This year, the ceremony was compèred by actress Fiona Dolman and attended by the category finalists, sponsors and judges; as well as the Earl Howe, Patron of the Soldiering on Awards; Colonel Karl Harris, Chair of the Army’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Network; and Lt General James Swift OBE, Chief of Defence People.
The Earl Howe, Patron of the Soldiering on Awards, said: “Despite the new virtual backdrop, the evening was a tremendous hour of celebration. Huge congratulations to ALL our fantastic 2020 winners and finalists. Each and every one of you is an inspiration to us all.” Lt Colonel Ren Kapur MBE, CEO of X-Forces Enterprise and Co-Chair of the Soldiering On Awards, said: “We are thrilled to congratulate these inspirational winners and it was wonderful to gather everyone together and celebrate our amazing community in these challenging times.”
We would also like to congratulate the other finalists in our section. Charnwood, Melton and Rushcliffe Borough Councils Partnership which encourages understanding and awareness of the issues affecting veterans and their families within the local community and the Forces Connect South East project which was a cross-border partnership created to support the aims of the Armed Forces Covenant and promote a greater understanding and awareness of the issues affecting the Armed Forces Community within public services across the South East. Both are shining examples of what can be accomplished by working together and we can learn from each other’s best practice.