New support scheme for military carers launched in Wiltshire

New services are a great way to attract some positive PR, as with this service for people in the military and their families, from Carer Support Wiltshire:

The Courage to Care programme, which will be delivered by Carer Support Wiltshire, aims to identify carers and their families among the Services, before they reach crisis point. They will then be supported via a network of trained carer support officers and volunteers within the military community.

The Courage to Care project has been made possible thanks to a £130,000 grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust – a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, will be treated fairly. It’s estimated that more than 900 military families in Wiltshire have a family member with a caring role.

According to the Army Welfare Service (AWS) and Army Family Federation (AFF) the majority of those looking after loved ones within the military community may not be aware that help is available or may not even consider themselves carers.

Among those is Andrew, who was medically discharged from the Army in 2009 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He cares for his wife who has mental health and learning difficulties. He has struggled to find work outside of the forces due to his caring role and PTSD. CSW supported Andrew with housing issues, training, respite breaks and emotional support.

Jacqui Radford, Community Connectors Team Lead for Carer Support Wiltshire, said: “We have a large community of military families in the county and we have been looking at ways to reach out to those among them who are carers and who need support.

“We are delighted that this Armed Forces Covenant Grant has enabled us to set up Courage for Carers and we are looking forward to working with the Army Welfare Service and the bases themselves to identify carers, to offer support and to signpost them to other services available.”

Vicky Harker, AWS support officer, added: “I have no doubt that this project will significantly improve carer support provision within Wiltshire’s military community and I look forward to working with CSW.”

Under the Courage to Care programme, carer support workers and volunteers will work in close partnership with AWS, the Wiltshire Hives (which is the Army’s information service), and Forces bases to raise awareness and help identify carers.

Employment and volunteer opportunities will be provided for military carers, to help them develop transferable skills for use in future postings and in later civilian life. As well as on base support and training, carers will be signposted to existing services outside the Services, which will also help improve links and communication between the military and civilian communities.

Tracy Park, Military Carer Support Lead for CSW, said: “We are very excited to be launching Courage to Care and in the coming weeks will be looking for volunteers to help with the programme, ideally from the military community.”

For more information about Courage to Care programme, visit https://carersupportwiltshire.co.uk/ or call Carer Support Wiltshire on 01380 871690.