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StartHere, a national charity, has launched an exciting new information service.
A result of a year long project led by The Royal British Legion (TRBL) with other key Service charities and the Service Personnel & Veterans Agency (SPVA), a shared service that lists organisations offering help and support to Serving and ex-Service personnel and their families is now available.
STARTHERE’S original award-winning service provides up-to-date details of around 1,200 national organisations offering support on a wide range of issues including health, housing, care, families, education, employment, debt, wellbeing and welfare rights. TRBL and Poppyscotland have been delivering StartHere on their websites and intranet since 2007. Average hits of around 4,000 a month on a range of issues such as homelessness, finding a job, mental health, disability equipment, and benefits suggest there is a real need for people to be able to help themselves to this information.
Harvey Tilley, Head of Community Services at TRBL said, “Often the key to solving a problem is finding the right information and organisation to help. StartHere provides an up-to-date service with clear and easy signposting that helps an individual find the relevant information simply, quickly and effectively”.
TRBL recognised early on the need for a shared resource for caseworkers and individuals across the sector. This has led to the development of this new specific version of StartHere for the Armed Forces Community. The new service incorporates around 170 organisations and services specifically for this community. From this April, Start Here is available on the following organisations’ websites: TRBL, SPVA (Veterans UK), Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), Combat Stress, Poppyscotland, The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF), Confederation of British Service and Ex- Service Organisations (COBSEO) and Veterans Scotland.
David Johnson (SPVA) said, “Having the StartHere service available on the veterans-uk.info website provides veterans with access to help and support from literally hundreds of organisations across the country. It’s a valuable addition to our online services and complements our existing Veterans Knowledge Map interactive advice facility”.
Val Farmer, Head of Community Partnerships at StartHere said, “This exciting development means the Armed Forces information will be promoted through all StartHere clients, such as NHS Choices, local authorities, PCTs, major charities, prisons and probation service.”
Recent research by NHS Choices and Directgov found that 91per cent of people found StartHere easy to use. The service has been awarded Shaw Trust's 'Accessible Plus' accreditation and has Plain English Campaign approval.
Mike Bray, Secretary of COBSEO said: “StartHere is an excellent and simple to use package for the Armed Forces Community (serving and retired) to steer them towards the help they are seeking when in need of support. This Royal British Legion led initiative on behalf of COBSEO is a signposting, web based tool for case workers and those seeking help”. Gary Gray, Head of Charitable Services said: “At Poppyscotland we want to give people as many choices as possible on how they can access information in ways that are appropriate for them. StartHere adds to this by giving an interactive service where people can help themselves by selecting their particular issue and choosing where they should go for help”.
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