Category Archive:VCP News

Help The Veterans Contact Point continue delivering effective services for Veterans & Families, by becoming a Trustee

The Veterans Contact Point is seeking to recruit several trustees to replenish our Board of Trustees. We are proud of the progress we have made in the past 10 years and as we move forwards towards our next decade we are seeking passionate individuals with strong can-do attitudes whose expert knowledge, skills and experience will continue to see the Veterans Contact Point maintain and grow its services and support to Veterans and their Families across the Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire (CSW) Armed Forces Covenant (AFC)Area.  As the CSW AFC only local Military Charity we are leading on local face to face support and working with a varied range of expert Partners to ensure that Veterans & their Families receive the best support they can and face no disadvantage in accessing services as a result of their Military Service.

We are specifically looking for individuals with experience in the following area to join our Board and help it support growth and direction:

Public Relations, Marketing & Fundraising, Employer Representation/Engagement, Mental & Physical Care.

The Committee of Trustees meets four times a year (usually face-to-face, at the home of the Veterans Contact Point in Nuneaton, Warwickshire). In addition the Annual General Meeting (AGM) is normally held in within the current financial year when various Reports and Financial Accounts are presented allowing members the opportunity to question the current Board of Trustee Elected Officers.

The tenure for the role of Trustee would be for an initial probationary period of six months following which the appointment, if made, will be reviewed every three years.  The Committee of Trustees would like to appoint new Trustees as soon as possible.

Trustee (general)  

The Veterans Contact Point (VCP) is managed totally by volunteers and our Trustees perform many roles which cut across many skill sets. As a Trustee of the VCP you should have strong networking skills and be able to represent the Charity if called upon to do so. You will join a team of volunteers who have stepped up into a challenging and supportive environment who give their time freely to the VCP. Trustees act as a collective so it is expected that the successful applicant/s will demonstrate that they:-

  • Committed to and supportive of the purpose, objects and values of the Veterans Contact Point
  • Computer literate – a VCP Microsoft Office Account, VCP email address and access to the Shared Directory is available to all Trustee’s and Volunteers
  • Strong communications skills orally and in written format
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality of sensitive and confidential/personal information.
  • Understand the importance and purpose of Trustees Meetings, show commitment to preparing for them adequately, being willing to bring ideas and governance and attending them regularly.
  • Ability to analyse information and, when necessary, challenge constructively, capable of making/supporting collective decisions.
  • Understand the importance of the role and associated governance function.
  • Understand the challenges and barriers often faced by Veterans & Families and those transitioning from the UK Military Services.

As a Trustee you will be a volunteer, the VCP have any paid staff which are normally employed to deliver dedicated projects. None of its Board of Trustees are paid however reasonable out of pocket expenses can be reimbursed if necessary.

To apply to be a VCP Trustee, please contactus@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk While we welcome applications and expressions of interest at any time. To be appointed/elected as a trustee to the current Committee of Trustees at the Annual General Meeting in 2021 the closing date for applications is 25th December 2020.

Should you wish to discuss any of the positions in more detail, please contact Len Hardy, Executive Officer/Board of Trustees len@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk   Telephone: 02476 343793

Applicants will be called for interview in January 2021 with representatives from the current Committee of Trustees. The interviews, dependent on the latest Government COVID19 guidelines will be held face to face at The VCP in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, alternatively interviews will be held via Microsoft Teams.

To find out more about the Association visit: https://www.veteranscontactpoint.co.uk  

CSW AFC Fund Trust – Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten Project

The Veterans Contact Point has been active in delivering services through the AFC Fund Trust Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten Project across the Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire Armed Forces Covenant Area.

The VCP team has learnt through “experience” how to master Microsoft TEAMS – LIVE Events. To date the VCP has delivered on-line sessions/presentations from across the CSW AFC Partners: Housing & The Armed Forces, The Armed Forces Covenant, Employability, Substance Misuse Support, Veterans Mental Health/TILS, Veterans Stories, Keeping Armchair Fit and news/live events from the various Veterans HUBS (mainly in North Warwickshire & Nuneaton).

In addition to establishing an on-line presence for the Armed Forces Community across the CSW area, the VCP Peer Support Team have also conducted regular telephone calls ” Veterans Buddy Check” to Veterans known to the Charity and those referred from Partners such as CWPT Ex-Armed Forces Mental Health/TILS/HIS, SSAFA Warwickshire & Coventry and through the CJS Remember Veterans Project.

VSNBF – Weekly Brew & Banter

Other VSNBF deliveries included delivering “NAFFI Break & Main Meal” boxes to Veterans locked down during COVID19. The team reached out to provide these in, Atherstone/North Warwickshire, Nuneaton & Bedworth, Leamington and Stratford upon Avon (SOA).

Pictured below is Ed Collis delivering these welfare packs to veterans known to him in SOA (immediately below is Ed dropping of a welfare box to a very happy veteran)

A Car Boot full of NAFFI Break & Main Meals” for Veterans

The VCP continues to deliver services through funding provided by The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, this includes Brew & Banter, Veterans into Work Support, Immediate welfare support – food/funds/Peer Support.

Ring 02476 343793 to book a place for Veterans Breakfast – Wear your Veterans Pin Badge or bring Verification of Service

Plans are being developed to provide a “COVID19 Safe Veteran Breakfast Club” at the VCP In Nuneaton starting Saturday 14th November, veterans are requested to ring first to be in a “Safe Group of 6” . This latest initiative is subject to the impacts/changes imposed by the on-going restrictions.

We continue to ensure that we remain open for those who need us, if you need help or are struggling or even know another veteran who maybe struggling – please do ring us: 02476 343793 or email contactus@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk

Ensuring the Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire Veterans are Not Forgotten

Veterans are not forgotten here in Warwickshire

Dawn Caswell the Veterans Contact Point Office Manager contacted Alex Pearson, Morrison’s  (LSPA) Community Champion as part of the Coventry Solihull and Warwickshire Armed Forces Covenant through the Armed Forces Covenant Funded ‘Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten Project. Dawn and the Team from the VCP wanted to establish a relationship with local business in the South of Warwickshire to develop local partnerships to support and to raise awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant, in particular the needs of Veterans and their families who are impacted upon by the COVID19 pandemic. The Veterans Contact Point are currently providing “NAFFI Break/Brew and Main Meal Boxes ” to local Armed Forces Veterans to let them know that the Armed Forces Covenant and VCP had not forgotten them at this difficult time. These packs also contained information on how to access support and that the VCP itself was still open for them to access support and information

Morrison’s Supermarket acknowledged its support to the Armed Forces Community and also generously donated 20 bags of food to be given out to Veterans living across the South Warwickshire Area. This food was converted into 40 “Main Meal Boxes” which were distributed in Atherstone, Nuneaton, Stratford and a special event held at Morrison’s Supermarket in Old Warwick Road Leamington on Friday 18th September 2020. 

Veterans Contact Point staff and volunteers were at the store to distribute these NAFFI Break & Main Meal Boxes and also took the opportunity to present their VCP Shield to Morrison’s in recognition of their support.  Morrison’s in Jonny Robbins Peoples Manager for Morrisons – West Midlands region. The Veterans Contact Point have been invited as a local military charity to become more involved in events and themes involving Morrisons to support and raise awareness of the local Armed Forces Community in the future.

Pictured above: Nick & Dawn Caswell, Ed Collis (Veterans Contact Point) & Jonny Robbins (Morrisons)

VCP Re-opens but is still following Social Distancing Guidelines.

The VCP has reopened and is encouraging Veterans who maybe struggling to make contact to ensure that they are supported. Key staff members including Jon the new AFC Community Outreach & Hub Development Officer have returned to the VCP base and have began contacting veterans to ensure that they are safe and coping during the current restrictions.

Current opening hours are Monday to Thursday 10:00 – 16:00 and Friday 10:00 – 14:00 hrs. We can also be contacted out of hours, by ringing Telephone 02476343793 and leaving a message – we will respond as earlier as possible the next working day. Alternatively you can email us on: contactus@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk.

VCP Located in Bentley Road – Nuneaton CV11 5LR

Although we cannot guarantee a face to face contact we will do all we can to ensure that each referral or contact is dealt with as speedily as possible. If we do need to see you, to check documentation, to get signatures etc. we will invite you to attend a “face to face” meeting following strict Government guidelines – please be aware that you may have to wear a face mask and observe social distancing. Please do not come if you are showing any signs of illness.

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust awarded £2,044,69.00 to Ensure Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten during COVID19 Lockdown

The Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten programme was launched with funding from HM Treasury, to support vulnerable veterans currently experiencing reduced social contact.

The AFC Fund Trust ( https://covenantfund.org.uk) were delighted to award 119 projects at a total of £2,044,698.

They have worked closely with the Association of Drop-In Centres (ASDIC), Age UK and Cobseo to ensure those organisations working with the most vulnerable veterans had the opportunity to apply for up to £20,000 to offer much-needed support.

The Veterans Contact Point was one such Charity that has been awarded funding to support veterans experiencing isolation and will be working in close Partnership with the Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire Armed Forces Community Covenant Partnership to help deliver this support.

Shown below is a list of those successful applicants awarded funding across our Region, the full list and more information can be found at : https://covenantfund.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/VSNBF-award-list.pdf :

Age UK Birmingham Birmingham Veterans Wellbeing Support Service  £20,000

Age UK Coventry & Warwickshire Supporting Coventry & Warwickshire Veterans  £20,000

Age UK Gloucestershire Veterans Connections: Gloucestershire  £20,000 

Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten  £19,559

Age UK Lincoln & South Lincolnshire Vitals for Veterans  £20,000

Age UK Sandwell Sandwell Veterans Wellbeing Support Service  £20,000

Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin Covid-19 Veterans Emergency Support Project  £20,000 

Age UK Solihull Veterans not forgotten in Solihull  £14,280

Age UK Staffordshire Veterans Should not be Forgotten  £19,989

Age UK Wolverhampton Wolverhampton Veterans Winning Through  £20,000

Forces in the Community (Nottinghamshire) Helping hands  £12,500

Step Together Veterans Resilience Project Leicestershire  £13,954

The Veterans Contact Point CSW AFCC Veterans Virtual Community Portal  £19,500

The Veterans Contact Point is now beginning its planning for its Veterans Virtual Community Portal which it hopes to launch across the CSW AFC Area on 26th June 2020, which is National Armed Forces Day. What a great idea it would be to have a Virtual Armed Forces Day Event across the area.

If you want to get involved, hold a virtual/on-line support session to veterans we are looking for innovative ideas that would help reduce the impacts of social isolation, these sessions could be around mental/physical well-being, art therapy, veterans stories the program is not limited, but we must ensure appropriateness and safety.

Interested in helping or being part of the CSW AFC Veterans Virtual Community?

Ring us: 02476343793 or email: support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk

It is Important to Stay in Contact – Friends, Family and with Veterans.

Lots of us are feeling worried about the ongoing coronavirus and how it is affecting us. It would appear that the focus is often on physical health and statistics of people catching the virus, or dying from it. Its important to remember the impact on our mental health and ability to cope with the unseen impacts. You don’t need to be an expert on mental health to be there for a family member, a friend or even fellow military buddy who you know but haven’t spoken too for sometime. Some simple tips to follow:

Buddy Call: You might not be able to meet face-to-face, but picking up the phone, having a video call – zoom/skype/team etc, starting a group chat or messaging someone on social media lets them know you are there to talk and ready to listen if they need you.

The VCP has realised the importance of the Buddy Call system and our Veteran Support Workers are ringing other Veterans on a weekly basis to make contact and check in with them. If you are a Veteran and want to be on this Buddy Call – Simply call us on 02476343793 and we will call you back.

Listening & Understanding: Whether you have a mental health problem or not, this will be a challenging time for all of our mental health and wellbeing. If someone opens up to you, remember that you don’t need to fix things or offer advice. Often just listening, and showing them that you take them seriously, can help someone to manage. If you feel that this person is in immediate danger – ring the emergency services.

Asking questions  Ask them how they are managing, and ask again if you’re worried they are not telling you how it really is. Asking again, and showing actual interest is called active listening, listening and caring can help someone to open up and let you know what they’re feeling.

The VCP is striving to be there for all of our Armed Forces Community, especially those across the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Sub Region. We may not be a big charity with thousands of pounds at our disposal – but we a big enough to actually care and we will share what we have with you if you really need it.

Dont struggle in silence, if you are suffering from being socially isolated or just need a fellow veteran to talk to, to discuss how you are feeling and to share the common ground – ring us on 02476 343793 or email us support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk

We care, we listen and we will get back to you.

Veterans Foundation Grant Awarded to the Veterans Contact Point

The Veterans Contact point are pleased to acknowledge the generous small grant made by The Veterans Foundation to help the VCP provide complimentary services to Veterans & Families across Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull area who may be experiencing hardship or issues resulting from the impact of COVID19 social isolating/distancing. The money that has been provided has been raised through people playing the Veterans Lottery, you can sign up and play today by following the link below:

Play the Veterans Lottery

https://www.veteransfoundation.org.uk/lottery

We plan to use this small grant to provide and support a complimentary service in support of the fantastic work already being done across our Armed Forces Covenant Area – not to replace it:

We want to ensure Veterans are Included & Not Forgotten

A dedicated Telephone Helpline: 02476343793 & Email Enquiry: support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk and Support Service. This is not an emergency service and will not replace existing community support links, but allow Veterans to make contact with the VCP.

We also want to develop a Virtual Veterans Community to provide a platform to allow Veterans to communicate with other Veterans to talk about common shared experiences; for CSW AFC Partnership representatives to provide regular information sharing sessions on a range of topics to help Veterans during the current lockdown.

We also want to ensure that the funding made by The Veterans Foundation allows us the flexibility to respond to needs identified by Veterans and for them to be identified within supportive groups to be able to keep them safe whilst in isolation or distancing.

You may not want support, or be able to provide support yourself – its about us the Veterans Armed Forces Community coming together to ensure “no one gets left behind or is forgotten”

We want also to continue the Armed Forces Covenant Partnerships aim to identify how many (Quanity) of us Veterans are living in the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire area. If you are a Veteran and you are in the Shielded/Social Isolating Group and you are already receiving support – please let them know you have served in HM Armed Forces. If you want to chat to another veteran – ring us on 02476 343793.

If you can be involved in our Virtual Veterans Community you will need and email address, PC/Laptop/Tablet/Appropriate Mobile Phone and internet access. Email us via: support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk

Thank you Veterans Foundation for Supporting The Veterans Contact Point.

Are you the Partner of a UK Armed Forces Veteran?

If you are and you want to share your views and experiences as a Partner of someone who has served and is in the period of transition from Military Service to Civilian Life. The aim of the project, led by Niamh a Trainee Clinical Psychologist with Coventry and Warwick University, who wants to shed light on how Partners can support Veterans when they leave the Military, and to explore how Partners themselves cope during this period.

Full contact details and ethical guidelines etc will be shared/explained by Niamh when contact has been made. Your views may help other Partners and the MOD itself understand the difficulties that transition imposes on families of those making the steps out of the military and into a second career in civilian street.

VCP – Service & Support During Current Situation

The VCP continues to monitor NHS/UK Government advice during this difficult time for the whole of the UK/World. We remain optimistic that we will all get through this – if we follow the simple instructions – and see our Armed Forces Family when it is safe to do so. Many of us have been through really difficult and trying time during our Military Service – we get it and we know that keeping positive and a healthy state of mind has gotten us all through those times.

We are now planning, safely, to look at what we can do to remain “there & visible” for those who need us in this time of distancing and isolating. Our Working Group are using IT/Media to hold Virtual Planning Meetings to help inform our COVID19 Action Plan. We will start to prepare our VCP as a Hub for any interventions or projects that we hope to deliver in support of those Community and Statutory Organisations “Out there” supporting our Community.

Planned VCP COVID 19 Response

If you are a veteran and you need help please make contact – make contact even if you don’t need help but want to be part of the Virtual Veterans Community. Remember that this is not an Emergency Service or a replacement for existing support.

The VCP Helpline & Email Service will commence ASAP and following approval and recommendations by our Working Group/Board of Trustees. In the meantime the Telephone contact number will go to answer machine and our email is currently being monitored and replied to normally within 24hrs if not sooner.

VCP Temporally Closes Again – This time following the UK Government COVID-19 Instructions

But will reopen again when it is safe to do so. Please continue to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and monitor our Website. Messages can be left on our main telephone line 02476343793 or by emailing us support@veteranscontactpoint.co.uk