CURRENT and former Armed Forces members are being urged to help shape support for families by taking part a new survey launched in the run-up to Remembrance weekend.
A partnership formed issues such as the return to civilian life and mental health problems aims to draw up the first ever map of the size and scale of the Armed Forces community in South Yorkshire.
This community includes regular serving personnel, volunteer, reservists, ex-forces members and family members of past and present servicemen and women and the bereaved of the fallen.
It is not currently known how many of these groups live, work or have family members in South Yorkshire, making it difficult to commission and target local services.
The four South Yorkshire councils have teamed up with Sheffield Hallam and York St John universities to produce the Armed Forces-specific survey, which is open until May 11 next year.
Dan Jarvis, the Barnsley MP and Army veteran, said: “This survey will be invaluable in helping inform how services should be designed to support the armed forces community in South Yorkshire.
“For veterans in particular, the transition to civilian life can be challenging, with far too many suffering from poor mental health and substance misuse.
“This project will for the first time help us understand the size and make-up of this underrepresented community of people, many of whom have made significant sacrifices through their service — and ultimately, help create a fit-for-purpose system of support which is so clearly needed.”
Project leader Dr Katherine Albertson said: “Despite many efforts to support the Armed Forces community, very little is known about their needs, desires, aspirations or experiences.
“This South Yorkshire-focused survey means we can ask the experts — the Armed Forces community themselves — and begin to build an accurate picture of what the community truly looks like.”
Findings from the £180,000 Ministry of Defence-funded study will be used to strengthen the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant pledges across South Yorkshire and ensure the councils’ Covenant Action Plans reflect the needs of their own Armed Forces communities.
Vist https://tinyurl.com/y8yv8luc to take part in the South Yorkshire Armed Forces Survey.