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COMMUNITY


A Case in Point Armed Forces Covenant


T


he Armed Forces Covenant makes a clear commitment by the Government on how Service people should


be treated. It is used to hold service providers, such as in health, education, and housing to account and helps policy makers and the commercial sector to understand why the Service community may be disadvantaged in accessing public or commercial services.


In turn this enables service providers to work towards removing that disadvantage. The support of the public and volunteer/ charitable organisations is vital to delivering the principles of the Covenant. Here we feature just some of those who have benefited from the Armed Forces Covenant.


BEREAVED


Four years ago, Kelly Thompson’s father Gary, a RAF SAC in the Reserves, died while serving in Afghanistan. The vehicle he was travelling in hit an IED. He had told his family he would be doing a desk job there to stop them worrying. Kelly and her family describe him as a hero.


Kelly has just started a degree in educational studies at Derby University using the MoD’s Bereaved Scholarship Scheme (BSS). The scheme is funded by the Department for Education and the Devolved Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. She will graduate in 2015 and she hopes to become a teacher. She lives at home with her sister Jade and her mum Jacqueline.


Kelly:“There are six girls in my family, five sisters and my mum. One of my sisters is studying nursing, one is an account manager, one is a primary school teacher and the eldest is married with two little girls. I started at Derby University doing educational studies this year and I also work part-time at a cinema.


“I did go to uni in London back in 2010 for a bit, but it was too soon to leave my family and it was very emotional so I came back. And I wouldn’t have gone back to uni if I hadn’t been able to use the BSS. It’s been a massive weight off my shoulders because I can do something I really want to do without being held back, and without worrying about debt.


40 Envoy Spring 2013


Guardsman Dave Watson from the 1st Battalion Scots Guard lost both legs and his right arm in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan. One of the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant is making sure that where it’s appropriate, Service people receive special treatment above and beyond the service a civilian would expect. The MoD funds essential parts of adapted housing for personnel injured during service on a case-by-case basis, driven by their needs. It starts with an occupational therapist assessment and is followed by site meetings with the person involved and MoD and Service representatives who then turn the recommendations into


“Dad was always so pro our education, and so is Mum. He would be so happy to know I’m studying at university. He would have been happy whatever I’d done because he was always so supportive, but he really cared about making sure we had the opportunities if we wanted them. And it makes me so proud of myself, for him.


“When I graduate I want to be a teacher, and I’d really like to work in a Youth Institute for kids who have had to leave mainstream school because of their behaviour, so I can help people who haven’t had a good start in life. It’s like Dad – he wanted to serve in Afghanistan because he wanted women there to get the same chance of an education as all his girls have.


“I’ve had a massive loss in my life, but I’m so lucky really. I want kids who’ve been kicked out of school to know that there are people who don’t give up on them, and I want to help people who haven’t had the same privileges as me.”


WOUNDED, INJURED, SICK


a design proposal. Non-essential features were funded privately.


Dave: “It’s been very hard adapting to life, but I have had to do it. The staff at Headley Court teach you how to do everything; if they had not been there it would have been much harder.


“Having the bungalow will change the way I live. In my old terraced house there was no room for me to walk around; I had to shuffle around and use a stair lift. Now I’m here I’ll be walking around every day. It’s important to me because it will get me onto my [artificial] legs more often.


“It will be brilliant to have my own place. Back at my old house I would go out with my mates and I would come in late and have to wake my mum and dad to open the door. Here I can come and go whenever I please, it will make me more independent.”


VETERANS


Steve Law has been diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). He used Veterans First Point in Scotland, part-funded by the MoD under the Covenant, to help them with the issues they’ve faced since leaving the forces.


Steve: “I knew about Veterans First Point as I was already having therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder at the Rivers Centre for Traumatic Stress at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. I actually helped to decorate the interior before it opened in 2009. It’s a great service and one that is very easy to access.


“I found on days when I was struggling, they helped to prioritise things for me and helped me get back on track. The drop-in service was vital for me. It’s good to know V1P exists


www.raf-ff.org.uk


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