Carlisle and Eden ‘Forces Link’
Forces Link looks at how we can increase opportunity and support for our local ex-service community and their families. We are doing this by working with local and national organisations such as University of Cumbria and Royal British Legion to find out what support they offer, then meeting the ex-service community through things like breakfast clubs and regimental association meetings to tell them about the opportunities available. In doing this we can identify any gaps and work with the organisations and the ex-service community to help fill them and provide the best support possible.
We host an Ex-Service Supporters network once a quarter. The network is a great opportunity to find out what is going on locally and a chance to give updates on what your organisation is doing to support the Ex-Service Community. Through the network we can inform the Covenant Partnership about things happening in our area and keep them up to date with current matters. Please contact us if your organisation would like to be part of the network and find out dates for forthcoming meetings.
Section, Platoon, Community walking group…. No matter when or who you served with, when you leave you don’t have to be alone. Our veterans and families Walking for Health group meets on a weekly basis in Carlisle and Eden and provides a great opportunity to get involved in the community, to stay healthy and rediscover that camaraderie with others providing a great peer support network. We will post all the details of our walks on our Facebook page and look out for our monthly walking challenges for you and the family to get involved in. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for all information.
As part of our project which is funded by The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, we’ll offer volunteering and wider community participation opportunities. We’ll support people to train as walk leaders through Active Cumbria, to help develop more walks in the area and to utilise the knowledge and unique perspective of those who have served – and want to support other veterans, we’ll offer the opportunity to become peer support volunteers. We’ll provide mental health first aid training, information about services in our local area and peer support training for these volunteers, and they will support less confident, isolated people to get involved and take part in the walks, the virtual hub meetings or other volunteering opportunities.
Our weekly virtual ‘brew and chat’ meetings take place every Thursday from 11:30 on Zoom and are a great way to meet others. Over the weeks and months of lockdown we have met every week, with a community of likeminded individuals, all with our random but familiar banter, stories and humour, who all just enjoy being able to talk to others who have served. If you would like to get involved, you can find all the details on the Hubs’ Facebook page.
Penrith Pumas are Cumbria’s first Wheelchair Rugby Club and they meet every Tuesday evening 19:00-21:00 at Penrith Leisure Centre. The sessions are open to anyone 16+, with or without physical impairment. Further details can be found on their website.
Cumbria Military Museum of Military Life http://www.cumbriasmuseumofmilitarylife.org/
01228 532 774
The museum hosts a monthly Veterans’ Lunch Club for £3.00, details about dates and how to book can be found on their website.
Cumbria Armed Forces Breakfast Club
Informal opportunity for veterans to meet for breakfast throughout Cumbria. See Facebook page for details.
Penrith Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club
In August 2019 we hosted the Forces Connect team at Newton Rigg, Penrith to deliver the Armed Forces Champion training package to our local NHS, Fire Service, Police, DWP and elected Councillors. The training encouraged people to ask, ‘Have you served’ and gave them an insight into the support available if they have.
The day was a great success and we now input into the Forces Connect App for Cumbria. This means that all our local area information is available on the App.
The app is easy to use with simple navigation and FREE to download (Google play and apple). It enables the entire Armed Forces community (ex-service personnel, current serving, reservists and families) as well as community practitioners access details to available services such as crisis support, employment, education, family support, care and benefits, health and wellbeing, housing and homelessness. It is not an exhaustive list of charities or organisations, but it provides a comprehensive list of services that have been approved by us and our partners.
Cumbria Armed Forces Covenant Partnership
Cumbria CVS is a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant and we regularly attend the Cumbria Armed Forces Covenant Partnership meeting. You can find out more about the Cumbria Armed Forces Covenant here: https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/armedforces/
If you or a family member need any support, please get in touch Monday – Thursday 08:30-16:30 or alternatively contact Veterans’ Gateway on 0808 802 1212. If you are experiencing crisis, please contact 999 or The Samaritans on 116 123.
Richie Hinson (Forces Link Project Coordinator)
01768 800 350
You can find out more about your local Council Armed Forces Champions on the following links;
Carlisle City Council https://www.carlisle.gov.uk/Council/Council-and-Democracy/Armed-Forces
Eden District Council https://www.eden.gov.uk/your-council/equality-and-diversity/armed-forces-covenant/
Cumbria County Council https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/armedforces/