One of Johnny Mercer’s core commitments prior to his election in 2015 was to see Plymouth become a centre of excellence for Veterans Care.
Since becoming a Member of Parliament, he has worked with core stakeholders in the city’s Veteran community, with Veteran charities and with statutory services such as Plymouth City Council and the health and social care sector to see this pledge worked out. The establishment of a single point of contact for Veterans, the Veterans Care Navigation Service, sets Plymouth well and truly on course to achieve this.
Unlike existing services, the Veterans Care Navigation Service (VCNS) is uniquely placed to signpost Veterans or those about to leave the Services to all the help and support on offer to them across Plymouth. The VCNS will work with existing services who specifically support veterans to help them develop the skills they require to support ex-service people to access wider support services such as specialist mental health or substance misuse services. It will also help wider services to become more knowledgeable in how best to support Plymouth’s Veteran population.
The Veterans Care Navigation Service is a core component of the newly adopted Veterans’ Strategic Commissioning Framework. As part of its work to fulfil the priorities agreed within the Plymouth Armed Forces Community Covenant, Plymouth City Council and the new Devon Clinical Commissioning Group have developed a strategy that details ways to support services for veterans and their dependents.
Launched at the start of the summer, the VCNS is being run by Improving Lives Plymouth (formally Plymouth Guild) from Ernest English House in the city centre as part of Advice Plymouth.
Speaking following the official launch of the VCNS, Johnny Mercer MP said:
‘I welcome the official launch of the Veterans Care Navigation Service in Plymouth. I have been involved in the development of the service since it was simply an idea, and am really pleased that LIBOR funding from the Government was secured to enable the project to get off the ground.
‘Plymouth has a wide range of exceptional services for veterans. However, it was recognised that we were not always getting the services to those who needed them the most. This service provides a valuable reference point for the thousands of veterans in Plymouth who may at some point require assistance to get the most out of civilian life.’
The Chief Executive of Improving Lives Plymouth, George Plenderleith said:
“This new service gives us an opportunity at Improving Lives Plymouth to provide a joined up service for Veterans in the city and to link them into our range of support services. We are doing this in partnership with advocacy charity, seAp to link with their Veterans Advocacy service and joining up with the various specialist veterans support organisations, local and national. Working together we have a real opportunity to transform the community support available in Plymouth to Veterans.”
A drop-in service has been set up at Ernest House on Buckwell Street – Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. To get in touch with the project call 01752 201 766 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to read Johnny’s paper, ‘Veteran’s Care in the United Kingdom – a sustainable model post-2015‘.