Service leavers’ website launched

A website with a wealth of advice and support for personnel leaving the Armed Forces has been launched by Liverpool City Council.

The site – www.serviceleaversliverpool.co.uk – has been developed as part of the Armed Forces Covenant in conjunction with Liverpool Veterans Centre, to help those whose service has ended.

Councillor Ian Francis, Armed Forces Champion for Liverpool, said: “Leaving service is a daunting time and affects not just the service leavers but also their families.

“Our Armed Forces make tremendous sacrifices to keep us all safe and it is absolutely vital that we do all we can to help them re-enter civilian life and make the best decisions.

“The website contains lots of information about the services that the council, its partners and other organisations can provide and is part of a package of support we are offering across the city.”

Bob Blanchard, Chair of Liverpool Veterans’ Project, said: “It’s important to remember that many service personnel entered the forces straight out of school and so when they come to leave it will be the first time they have had to do many of the things we take for granted.

“Finding a job and accommodation are two of the biggest challenges but even things that we all do without thinking about it such as paying council tax, registering with a GP and sorting out a TV licence may be new to service personnel.”

Earlier this year Kev Archer, 43, left the Army following 22 years of service, latterly as working with the families army welfare service. He is now working as a families officer at Liverpool Veterans Centre, helping support those who are leaving the forces.

He said: “I was fortunate in that I gave myself time to prepare for leaving and had a good CV ready and had also planned out where my family was going to live.

“As well prepared as I thought I was, I still remember going to the Job Centre and being shocked that the system was all online. I was expecting rows of jobs boards with vacancies pinned to them and when I mentioned this I was laughed at by a member of staff who said I must have been living on another planet.

“Some personnel have to leave the service due to illness or injury or get discharged and it all happens very quickly and leaving the forces family can be like a bereavement. It is really important that they have easy access to advice and support to make sure they and their families have a stable transition.”