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Advice and Support For the Armed Forces Community

Coronavirus Support

There are a variety of support organisations out there who are happy to talk to you and offer advice and support. These groups cover a wide range of topics, and you can find information and links to their websites below and on our Coronavirus Specialist Advice page.

Armed Forces Community General Information and Advice

SSAFA Forces Line

A free and confidential service providing support for serving (regulars and reserves), ex-forces and their families. SSAFA is outside of the military chain of command, they will listen and won't judge.

  • Call 0800 731 4880
  • Freephone lines are open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday

Royal British Legion

They run a national information and advice line for veterans and their families.

  • Call 0808 802 8080
  • Freephone lines are open 8am-8pm, seven days a week

Veterans Gateway

National point of contact for veterans seeking support. Putting veterans and their families in touch with the organisations best placed to help with the information, advice and support they need – from healthcare and housing to employability, finances, personal relationships and more.

  • Call 0808 802 1212
  • Freephone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Age UK

Age UK are keen to reach veterans in the community to see how they can help support them during the Coronavirus lockdown. They can assist with shopping, prescription collections, hearing aid batteries, hot meal delivery and can provide free information and advice.

  • Call 01233 668765

Mental Health

Combat Stress

A national mental health helpline for anyone affected by service-related mental health problems, including family members.

  • Call 0800 138 1619 (for veterans and families) or 0800 323 4444 (for those serving and their families)
  • Freephone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Interpreting service also available

Befriending Services

RAF Benevolent Fund Group Calls Service

The Silver Line partners with the RAF Benevolent Fund to provide free, regular, group friendship telephone calls which enable up to six like-minded older people with links (veteran, partner, spouse or widow) to the RAF to chat to each other from the comfort of their own homes. An easy way to connect with other people with an RAF background and to make new friends and share stories.

  • Call 0300 222 5703
  • Freephone lines are open 9.30am-4.30pm Monday-Thursday and 9.30am-4pm on Fridays

Seafarers Link Service

Group friendship calls for those with a maritime background including Merchant Navy, Royal Marines, Deep Sea Fisherman, retired Royal Navy, WRNS and RNA members. Seafarers Links are free, regular, group friendship telephone call with up to six like-minded people.

  • Call 0207 7224 2072

Sight Loss

Blind Veterans UK National Support Service

Blind Veterans UK are ensuring that the most vulnerable veterans they support receive everything they need at this time. They are delivering an outreach service over the telephone and practical support for blind veterans impacted by social distancing measures.

  • Call 01273 391447
  • Phone lines are open 9am-4pm Monday-Friday

Housing

In certain circumstances, applicants for social housing from the Armed Forces do not need to demonstrate a local connection in order to be considered eligible for a social housing allocation in the borough of Ashford.

To apply for social housing, and to find out more about our Lettings Policy regarding the Armed Forces, visit Applying for Social Housing.

Schools and young people

Armed Forces families often have to move at short notice within the UK and from abroad. If you are a member of the UK Armed Forces or a Crown Servant with a confirmed posting to Kent, you can apply for an in year admission to a Kent School through Kent County Council.

There are active Cadet organisations for all branches of the Armed Forces in the Ashford area. If you are interested in learning more about the Cadets or joining, you can visit pages for the Sea Cadets, Army Cadets, Royal Air Force Cadets or Royal Marines Cadets.

Jobs and training

If you're interested in career opportunities in the Armed Force, either as a regular or reserve, go to the careers pages for the Royal Navy, the British Army, the Royal Air Force or the Royal Marines.

Service leavers of any rank can benefit from resettlement support, careers transition advice and training opportunities through the Career Transition Partnership.

You can view current vacancies at Ashford Borough council on our Jobs page.

Welfare and financial support

There are lots of organisations that provide support to serving Armed Forces personnel, their families and veterans.

  • The Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare Team is always on hand to help with the unique challenges that service personnel and their family and friends encounter during life in – or with – the Royal Navy or Royal Marines
  • The Naval Families Federation lists organisations and charities that help with a range of welfare issues, including bereavements and disability needs
  • The British Army provides help on a range of welfare issues including deployment support, legal assistance and a dedicated, free telephone service (Forcesline) for confidential guidance
  • The Army Families Foundation (AFF) is independent of the Army and offers confidential advice on a range of welfare issues including money matters and family life
  • The Royal Air Force Community Support provides support to service personnel and families in a number of areas, including accommodation, education and financial support
  • The Royal Air Force Families Federation provide all RAF personnel and their families – Regular and Reserve, single or married – with timely and professional support, assistance and an independent voice regarding issues or concerns that they may have
  • The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) works to ensure that the needs of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families are met in an appropriate and timely way
  • Veterans UK provides a range of services including a veteran's advice helpline, a welfare service that will provide a dedicated caseworker to assist veterans and their families, and support war pensioners and war widows and widowers
  • The Royal British Legion provides support to people who are serving or who have served in the Armed Forces, their dependents and carers
  • The South East Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association (SERFCA) provides supports Reservists and Cadets in the South East of England, as well as managing Reserve, Cadet and Training centres; supporting Reservists by engaging with and supporting their employers; and encouraging support for Reserve Forces and Cadets

Covenant Fund

The national Covenant Fund has £10 million of funding available each year to support Armed Forces Covenants across the country by funding projects which will address specific priorities around delivery of the Covenant's aims. There are two funding routes:

Small grants, for applications up to a maximum of £20,000; and large grants, for applications of between £20,001 and £500,000 which aim to strengthen local government delivery of the Covenant.

The funding priorities for 2017/18 are:

  • Families in stress
  • Strengthening local government delivery of the covenant
  • Armed Forces Covenants: local grants
  • A single grant to produce a map of need for the Covenant Fund
  • A single grant to produce an outcomes framework for the Covenant Fund
  • A single grant for the provision of a digital support programme for the Covenant Fund

Read more about the Covenant Fund.

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