Brighton & Hove Civil Military Partnership Board in partnership with the NHS Sussex Armed Forces Network, Royal British Legion, Service Champions and other partners were behind the initial project to provide pathways to services for the Armed Forces community across Sussex.
The project, which was funded by the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme in 2015, and researched and designed by Joining Forces, covers pathways for services offered by public, private and voluntary organisations and include information on employment; social care; rough sleeping, physical health, mental health and housing.
In May 2017, Surrey County Council, in partnership with Kent, East & West Sussex and Hampshire county councils and ourselves was awarded £321,000 from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund to promote understanding and awareness within public authorities and related sectors, including health, of the issues which affect the Armed Forces community.
The Forces Connect South East project, was funded for two years, and involved educating and briefing Armed Forces Service Champions, Covenant Officers, social care teams and helpdesk staff across the South East so that the needs of Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families could be better understood by the public sector.
The Forces Connect South East project built on the work which had already been completed within Sussex in regards to the development of pathways of services that support the Armed Forces community. This was been done in parallel to the Service Champion Training which is also being carried out across the South East.
Forces Connect is the app which has been produced based on the pathways produced by the Armed Forces Network. The app started with only information for Hampshire, Kent & Medway, Sussex and Surrey. However, more counties are joining the app, making it one of the easiest ways to access information and support for the Armed Forces community.